NORTH West residents are among the most accepting of other races, new research suggests.

Social research group NatCen said 71 per cent of people it surveyed in the region denied being racially prejudiced, while 29 per cent admitted being ‘very’ or ‘a little’ prejudiced.

Nationally, 30 per cent of the 2,000 people polled in the British Social Attitudes survey described themselves as prejudiced.

The least accepting region was the West Midlands, where 35 per cent confessed to being prejudiced, while the most accepting was Inner London, where the figure was just 16 per cent.

Lancashire Council of Mosques chair, Abdul Hamid Qureshi, said: “This is good news. As human beings, we all have some prejudice in us, but I see the North West as a healthy place, rather than unhealthy, which is how some people see it.

“At one time, the BNP was gaining strength in the North West, but now it is gone.”

Nelson councillor Mohammed Iqbal said: “My experience is that people are tolerant of different cultures. There are pockets in the Asian and the English communities where people are insular, but overall people tend to rub off on each other quite well.

“There are niggling issues but it’s really about understanding how different cultures operate, and my experience is positive.”

Older male, manual workers with fewer qualifications were more likely to be prejudiced, the survey showed, while younger, well-educated professional women are the least likely.

Just over nine in 10 of those who admitted to some level of racial prejudice said they would also like to see a reduction in immigration, compared to around seven in 10 from those who said that they’re not prejudiced at all.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “People in the North West are certainly much less racist than they were. That does not stop concerns about immigration but people differentiate between the issues.”