British Future - new identity, integration, migration and opportunity think tank launches
British Future is a new independent organisation seeking to involve people in an open conversation, which addresses people's hopes and fears about identity and integration, migration and opportunity, so that we feel confident about Britain's future. Established with the support of five funders including Trust for London, we are investing in British Future to help it inform and contribute to a more informed and balanced debate on issues of migration. The other funders are The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, Oak Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy and The Open Society Foundations.
The launch event at the Museum of Docklands included a panel discussion discussing the findings of a new opinion poll by Ipsos-Mori for British Future's first report - Hopes and Fears: The British Future State of the Nation Report 2012 which featured in the Observer. Panelists included journalist Matthew d'Ancona, James Forsyth (Political Editor of The Spectator) and the Director of British Future Sunder Katwala.
Sunder said in his article in the Observer: "We are launching British Future to explore how we extend confidence in modern Britain to those who do not feel it, to help ensure no difficult issue is kept off limits, and to challenge people to work together - on issues of identity and integration, migration and opportunity - to create workable solutions and a future that people want to share".
The report shows that there is strong agreement that immigration has contributed positively to entrepreneurship, film, music, fashion and design and Britain's cuisine. However, it also reveals economic anxieties. Many respondents believe immigration has had a negative impact on the supply of homes, jobs, schools or hospitals. There is a rejection of segregation, with 51% of people believing the government should encourage parents to put their children in ethnically diverse schools. Black and Asian people feel this most strongly (60%).
About British Future
British Future has four main areas where it wants to open up more public debate - identity and integration, migration and opportunity. In considering these, its starting point is a belief in:
- Building a modern British identity which helps to build an inclusive citizenship, where we can all be confident about who we are, and which recognises the national and local identities we hold in Britain today too.
- Promoting integration in Britain, so that people from all backgrounds contribute fully to the society that we want to share.
- Understanding that migration has long made a positive contribution to British life, so we need to address its economic and social pressure, to manage it fairly for everyone.
- Working for economic and social opportunity to be shared across our society - so that the chances in life of Britain's next generation are not determined by where their parents came from, and so that nobody is left behind.
British Future's board of trustees includes a broad spectrum of individuals including journalist Ian Birrell, who worked for David Cameron during the 2010 general election as his speechwriter; Alasdair Murray, former Director of CentreForum, the liberal think tank; and the journalist Samira Ahmed. It is chaired by Wilf Weeks, who is a public affairs consultant and a trustee of Trust for London.