Londoners are just as concerned about immigration as people living in other parts of the country, but there is an age divide with younger Londoners being far more positive towards immigration, ethnic diversity and the European Union
It was recently reported that the government may have to water down its plans to force landlords to check the immigration status of tenants amid fears it would be too hard to implement, and could increase homelessness in areas like London where there is a high number of immigrants. Meanwhile, the recent census has revealed that British White people are now a minority in the capital; the ethnic makeup of London is now 45% White British, 15% from another White background with the remaining 40% made up of people from other ethnicities.
A new YouGov London poll shows that Immigration is the second most important political issue for Londoners after the economy, with 42% saying it will influence how they vote in the next election. In comparison, 52% say the economy is the most important issue that will influence how they vote, and 34% choose health.
The London results are nearly identical to those of a recent national poll, which revealed that for Britons the economy (56%) is the top issue that will influence how they vote in the next election, followed by immigration (44%) and health (38%).
Age divide on immigration
Concern over immigration increases steadily with age. Amongst 18-24-year-olds, 43% say the economy is the most important issue, while unemployment (38%) is the second biggest concern, followed by crime (28%) and then immigration (27%). The economy (50%) and unemployment (34%) are also the top two concerns amongst 25-39-year-olds.
For the 40-59-year-old age bracket, however, immigration (46%) is seen as the second most important political issue after the economy (56%), while for those who are 60+ immigration – at 66% - is the most important issue, with the economy coming in second place at 55%.
Multi-ethnic London – good thing or bad thing?
The recent census revealed that White British people are now a minority in London. According to the census, the ethnic makeup of London is now 45% White British, 15% from another White background with the remaining 40% made up of people from other ethnicities.
Londoners are divided on whether the capital’s multi-ethnic makeup is a good thing or a bad thing, and here again younger Londoners are substantially more likely than older Londoners to see the city’s racial diversity as a positive thing.
Amongst all Londoners, 39% say the city’s current ethnic makeup is a good thing, while 37% say it is a bad thing and 24% are undecided. However, 48% of 18-24-year-olds and 47% are 25-39-year-olds say what the census results show is a good thing, versus 30% and 26% (respectively) who it is bad.
Londoners are in the 40-59-year-old age bracket are evenly split on whether the capital’s multi-ethnicity is good or bad, while for those who are 60+ a majority (60%) say it is a bad thing.
Support for EU declines with age
Londoners are divided on whether Britain’s membership in the European Union is a good thing or a bad thing; 34% say it is good, while 30% believe it’s bad, 25% say Britain’s EU membership is neither good nor bad and 11% are undecided.
However, as with immigration there is an age divide amongst Londoners, with younger residents of the capital more in favour or the EU, and older Londoners more opposed to it. Pluralities of 18-24-year-old and 25-39-year-old Londoners say Britain’s membership in the EU is a good thing, while pluralities of those in the 40-49-year-old and 60+ age brackets say the opposite.
Londoners are also divided on the EU referendum question, with a slim plurality (41%) saying they would vote to stay in the EU, while 38% say Britain should get out of Europe. Again, younger Londoners are the most likely to say they Britain should stay in the EU while older Londoners are more likely to say Britain should get out.