Batley & Spen’s Member of Parliament has defended her home town from accusations that it is one of the 10 least integrated communities in the country.
Jo Cox said that Policy Exchange’s assertion that Batley was in its top ten least integrated places was baseless and bizarre.
Mrs Cox said: “Batley is a great town, I’m proud to have been born here and I’m even prouder to represent it in Parliament.
“This Policy Exchange ‘press release’ lacks detail or reasoning. I’ve asked for more information about how they came to their conclusions but they’ve suddenly become rather tight-lipped.
“I have a strong suspicion that no one involved in this report has ever been to Batley. These are bizarre and baseless generalisations that show a dearth of understanding on every level.
“If they had visited our resilient town they could have met the Batley Poets and seen the great work that local white and Asian people are doing together. Or they could have visited local charities such as Royal Voluntary Service where volunteers from all backgrounds are supporting and helping each other every day.
“Integration is not about bricks and mortar, nor what streets people live on. No one has the power to dictate where people live and it’s ridiculous to suggest local councillors should effectively be engaged in social engineering.
“Integration and community cohesion is a challenge but they come gradually, and through consent. It is very unhelpful to make baseless generalisations from a very narrow reading of five year old census data.”
When Mrs Cox asked for evidence to back up their research, Policy Exchange declined to offer anything further. They did provide an email address for the report’s author, but messages returned undeliverable.