George Galloway says something sensible

No, really. His argument is:
  1. East London is poor
  2. East London has people in it who don't speak any or good English
  3. Labour always said that means testing reduced take-up
  4. Labour ministers have said that community problems come from not being able to speak English
  5. You have to pay for English language classes
I'm sorry I can't write a more eloquent summary, but that's it. All this took place in an adjournment debate last Friday afternoon. By the looks of things, only Galloway and the minister responding, Yvette Cooper, were there. Galloway also points out that
Working tax credits—the Minister knows something about them—are a case in point. The Minister intends to use entitlement to working tax credit as a criterion for exemption from the charges. So the Government’s policy is to make access to English classes dependent on a successful application for benefits that itself demands a high level of competence in English. “Catch-22” is the literature that springs to mind.
George was once so rude to me when I asked him a question that someone sharing a platform with him apologised on his behalf. I'm no fan on his. On this, however, he's dead right and I hope he is actually listening to the concerns of his constituents. Government does need to be more joined-up and this is an easy policy hit (aside from being right) - increase the number of non-English speakers learning English.



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