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Most English people now consider themselves UK first, a new study shows


Most English people now see themselves as UK first and immigration concerns have lessened since Brexit, a new study shows

  • A quarter identify themselves mainly as English, while around half describe themselves as British
  • Immigration and exploitation of welfare concerns has subsided since leaving the EU
  • Fewer people today say they are English than they have ever done since the late 1990s

Most people in England today consider themselves British rather than English, a study found yesterday.

Just over a quarter identified themselves primarily as English, compared to about half who identify themselves as British.

The influential UK survey of social attitudes also found that concerns about immigration and welfare exploitation across the country have subsided since the decision to leave the EU.

Concerns about immigration and the exploitation of the welfare system have subsided since the decision to leave the EU

It was pointed out that the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum was "an indication of an increase in the spread of English identity".

However, yesterday's report states: "Far from becoming a more popular identity, fewer people say they are English today than at any point since the late 1990s."

The final annual snapshot of the views of more than 3,000 across the UK was taken last fall.

When asked whether they are English or British, 28 percent in England voted for English and 53 percent for British.

In the same 1999 survey, the numbers for each identity were evenly divided among 44 percent.

The report says: “Since 2014, the proportion of British people has decreased from 40 percent to just 28 percent year on year. Conversely, the proportion of British people rose from 47 to 53 percent over the same period. "

Those in Wales and Scotland were not asked a similar question about their national identity.

Far from becoming a more popular identity, fewer people say they are English today than at any point since the late 1990s

Far from becoming a more popular identity, fewer people say they are English today than at any point since the late 1990s

The study also found that the number who believe immigration is undermining British cultural life has more than halved since 2011 and is now less than a fifth.

Meanwhile, the proportion of those who believe that performance is too high and discourage work has fallen from 59 percent in 2015 to 35 percent now.

And only 15 percent agree with the notion that those on Social Security deserve no help, the lowest level ever recorded.

There was evidence that the 2016 Brexit referendum outcome was an indication of an increase in the spread of English identity

There was evidence that the 2016 Brexit referendum outcome was an indication of an increase in the spread of English identity

Gillian Prior of the National Center for Social Research, which conducts the survey, said: “We cannot be sure how Covid-19 or Brexit will ultimately affect public sentiment.

“However, the dramatic weakening of attitudes towards welfare in recent years strongly suggests that the public is in favor of more generous welfare benefits for people losing their jobs due to the pandemic.

"With regard to Brexit, our research shows a major shift towards immigration as culturally enriching and good for the economy."

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