Ethnic minorities 'could be almost a third of UK population by 2050', claims think-tank

The report claims that numbers in the five largest distinct Black and Minority Ethnic groups could double by the middle of the century

The proportion of UK citizens from ethnic minority communities is set to double by 2050, according to a report by centre-right think-tank the Policy Exchange.

The report, entitled 'A Portrait of Modern Britain', claims that the numbers of people included in the five largest distinct Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups could double from the current 14 per cent, or 8 million people, to between 20 and 30 per cent by the middle of the century.

The study says that during the past decade the UK's white population has remained the same while the minority population has almost doubled.

The handbook draws on survey, census, academic and polling data to build up a detailed picture of the five largest minority groups in the UK - Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black African and Black Caribbean.

The think-tank, which has close links to the Conservative Party, says that 80 per cent of the UK's population growth is a result of growth in BME communities.

The majority of non-white Britons identify themselves as "British only", it said.

The report also argues that politicians should stop treating ethnic minorities as one homogeneous group and start appealing to the varied political views and concerns of non-white Britons.

It argues immigration from the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and Africa since the Second World War has resulted in diverse groups with widely differing opinions, experiences and traditions.

It says politicians have failed to address these groups individually and says there are "clear and meaningful differences between each of these communities, which need to be fully understood" by policymakers.

Rishi Sunak, report co-author and head of Policy Exchange's BME Research Unit, said: "These communities will continue to become an ever more significant part of Britain, especially in future elections.

"However, as our research demonstrates ethnic minorities are not one homogeneous political group.

"From education to employment, housing to trust in the police, politicians from all parties must understand the different issues affecting individual communities."

The report suggests that voting intentions are broadly similar across the different groups.

Communities overwhelmingly identified with and voted for the Labour Party, with 68% having voted for Gordon Brown's party at the 2010 General Election. Just 16% said they would vote for the Conservatives and 14 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

Last month Adam Afriyie, the first black Tory MP and once touted as a future party leader, said the Conservatives will not be able to completely detoxify its brand in the eyes of ethnic minority voters in time for next year's general election.

He admitted that even if Prime Minister David Cameron "does everything perfectly" in the run up to the 2015 General Election, the party's lack of support among minorities will persist.

But Mr Afriyie said the party would be making a mistake if it changed its policies to suit individual groups in a "political gamble" for more popularity.

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