A growing tolerance post-Brexit referendum?

There were fears, accusations and even some evidence that the UK’s Brexit decision was followed by intolerance and an increase in hate crime.

The results of a survey on British social attitudes by the National Centre for Social Research show an increasingly positive attitude towards immigration. The Quartz news site charted the figures.

The 2015 survey found that 34% thought that migrants who come to Britain from other countries made a ‘good’ impact on Britain’s economy. The figure rose to 47% in the 2017 survey.

There was a similar rise when asked about the impact on Britain’s cultural life: 31% felt it was enriched by new arrivals in 2015, while the figure in 2017 was 44%.

Both statistics had been transformed from the significantly lower responses back in 2011 (21% for good impact on Britain’s economy; 26% for enriched impact on Britain’s cultural life).

The researchers comment on page 13 of the report:

“When we first asked these questions in 2011, the public was clearly doubtful about the merits of migration. Around two in five thought that migrants were bad for Britain’s economy and that it undermined the country’s cultural life, whereas only around a fifth to a quarter took the opposite view.

“The picture was little different in 2013 … But by the time of our 2015 survey, opinion was somewhat less negative … Now opinion seems to have moved quite markedly further in this direction (see also Ipsos MORI, 2018) …

“There is little sign here that the EU referendum campaign served to make Britain less tolerant towards migrants; rather they have apparently come to be valued to a degree that was not in evidence before the referendum campaign.”