Urgent research into the plight of unemployed white working class people in Birmingham has been ordered by the city council.
Equalities cabinet member Alan Rudge wants to find out why some of the poorest communities feel let down by local and central government.
The inquiry follows a study by the Department of Communities and Local Government which said people on the Castle Vale estate believe politicians have “betrayed” them in favour of refugees and single mothers.
Researchers found that residents feared parts of Birmingham with a high Asian population had become no-go areas for them.
Predominantly white communities like Castle Vale were seen as “little havens” and a relief from the multi-cultural mix of Birmingham.
Council head of equality and diversity, Dr Mushuq Ally, said there was a general misconception that only ethnic minorities faced discrimination.
Dr Ally added: “The cabinet member is very committed to the idea that when we are talking about cohesion we are being inclusive.
“We are taking on board levels of disadvantage and under-achievement in various communities including white communities.
“It is unfortunate that over the past 50 years, since we have had equalities legislation, the perception has always been that this is to do with black and Asian people at the expense of other communities.”
Dr Ally told a scrutiny committee the council should target aid at individual streets and neighbourhoods.
He added: “Real cohesion must occur in neighbourhoods. Unless it is happening in the streets and communities, it is not going to happen at all.”
Equalities scrutiny committee chairman Keith Barton said: “White working class neighbourhoods feel they are being left behind.
“The danger is that they may be recruited into far-right organisations, which would damage community cohesion throughout the city.”
The council is also launching a £2.6 million scheme to help people in disadvantaged areas get back to work.
A two-year package would give an average £1,000 to unemployed people who find jobs for 12 weeks after starting work.
Currently, benefit support is only offered by the Government for a maximum of four weeks and many people do not meet the strict eligibility criteria.
People qualifying for support under the scheme will receive maximum council tax benefit and housing benefit for three months.
Deputy council leader Paul Tilsley said: “In the time of a credit crunch and a recession, the last thing somebody wants is the cash flow uncertainty of moving from weekly paid benefits to monthly salaries that often occurs once a citizen overcomes the hurdle of actually getting a job.
“By offering people in areas of high unemployment access to this fund, we are providing them with structured and sustained support that gives them a real chance to succeed in the world of work on a long-term basis.”