Thank you for contacting me about the Government's strategy for achieving and sustaining community integration and cohesion.
While Britain is a great place to live, with a well-integrated society on the whole, in too many parts of our country communities are increasingly divided along ethnic, faith and socio-economic lines. That is why I welcome the launch of the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy, an ambitious programme to build strong integrated communities.
The Strategy, to which £50 million will be committed over the next two years, outlines Government proposals across a broad range of areas, including fostering integration through schools and youth groups, providing better English language training, and promoting British values.
These measures include developing a new English language strategy, strengthening the expectations on integration for new free schools, and increasing the prominence of British values within Ofsted inspections.
Proposals in the Strategy will build on the Government’s record of fostering community integration. Since January 2017, the Schools Linking programme has brought together over 17,000 pupils from 448 demographically diverse schools to boost integration. Similarly, since its launch in 2011, the National Citizen Service has promoted social cohesion among roughly 400,000 youths.
The £100 million Controlling Migration Fund, launched in November 2016, has helped local areas and services to cope where pressures emerge due to recent migration, pressures which can often be a source of community tension. As of March 2018, over £45 million had been awarded in funding across 82 local authority areas.
I am confident that the Integrated Communities Strategy will help achieve the aim of building a strong, integrated community across the country, bringing all members of our diverse society closer together.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP