Government plans to slash pounds 16m from English language classes in London for children from ethnic minorities have been condemned by local councils, writes Lynn Eaton.

The Association of London Authorities (ALA) is calling on ministers to withdraw their cuts plan, arguing it will hit both the educational and job opportunities of children who do not speak English as a first language.

London councils had pounds 59m for language classes last year. This year it has been cut to pounds 43m.

Some councils will be especially hard hit. In 13 councils, including Brent, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Southwark, demands for language classes will have to compete with other projects.

The Government is also refusing to meet as high a proportion of the cost of each individual scheme. The ALA raised its concerns at a meeting with home office minister Baroness Blatch yesterday.