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Volume 540: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2012

I am today publishing “Creating the Conditions for Integration”, the Government’s approach to enabling and encouraging integration in communities throughout England.

“Creating the Conditions” sets out how integration is achieved when neighbourhoods, families and individuals come together on issues that matter to them. It is based around five key factors:

I. Common ground—Shared aspirations and values, and a focus on what we have in common rather than on difference.

II. Responsibility—Promoting a strong sense of mutual commitment and obligation.

III. Social mobility—People able to realise their potential to get on in life.

IV. Participation and empowerment—People have the opportunities to take part and take decisions in local and national life.

V. Challenge to intolerance and extremism—A robust response to threats which deepen division and increase tensions.

Most people from different backgrounds get on well together, feel they belong to their neighbourhood and to this country, and have a sense of pride in the place where they live, but challenges remain in particular places. Building a more integrated society requires collective action across a wide range of issues, at national and local levels, by public bodies, private companies, voluntary and community organisations and, above all, communities and individuals. “Creating the Conditions” sets out the Government’s views and our role in this process.

We recognise that integration is a vital local issue. We will ensure that the integration benefits of national programmes and projects are recognised and supported. All Government Departments have an important role in tackling barriers to integration, in particular those relating to long-term social and economic challenges.

Beyond this, integration requires a local response and we strongly encourage local partners such as local authorities, police forces and other statutory bodies to work together to drive action and to learn from each other. To support this we will use tools such as the Localism Act 2011 to give people the power to come together to take action. We will seek opportunities to support projects that are sustainable through community or business support and which exemplify positive activities or pioneer new approaches. We are committed to outflanking and challenging extremism and intolerance and we will take the necessary action to do so.

Together, these are fundamental changes to how Government Departments and the rest of the public sector work in this area. This approach will make integration the everyday business of public services, the private sector and wider civic society, while ensuring local responsibility and the opportunity for everyone to contribute.

“Creating the Conditions for Integration” is available at: communities/integration. A copy of this publication will be placed in the Library of the House.