Majority of Anglicans want immigration levels 'reduced'

The Bishop of Loughborough  Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani BBC screenshot

Regular churchgoers have more a positive opinion of immigration than the general population.

But those who describe themselves as Anglican overall, including those who do not necessarily attend regularly, are more negative about the current levels of immigration.

New research on attitudes to immigration reported on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme, found that nearly nine in ten people, 87 per cent, who describe themselves as Anglicans believe immigration to the UK should be reduced. 

According to the research, from an analysis of British Social Atttudes surveys by researchers at the University of Bristol, 66 per cent of Anglicans who go to church regularly oppose current levels of immigration. Among Christians who do not go to church, the number is 86 per cent. 

This compares to just 77 per cent of people with no religion who think immigration should be cut.

Jane Berridge, who has been a volunteer at the Anglican Church of the Martyrs in Leicester for 10 years, said: "For me I think it is part of my faith to serve, to encourage people and to help people. Some people leave their own country, not out of choice, but because they have to.

"As a Christian it's about being welcoming, welcoming to the stranger."

But the Bishop of Loughborough Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani said this country – the Church of England – does not have a "great history" when it comes to immigration, from as far back as the 1950s and 1960s. "We still have a long way to go in order to enable, to help, to educate congregations to be able to express a fuller welcome to those who both enter our churches and come to our country."