Claimants must learn English or lose benefits


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Indy Politics

People whose lack of English prevents them from getting a job will be forced to attend language training or face losing their benefits, David Cameron has said.

As part of the shake-up of the welfare system, new rules will mandate advisers at Jobcentres to order the unemployed to improve their skills in English.

If claimants refuse to attend any of the classes which are recommended to them, they could have their benefits stopped.

Speaking about the proposals on the day the Welfare Reform Bill was debated in the House of Lords, Mr Cameron declared that he wanted to "get rid of the old idea" that you could receive benefits without "conditions". The Prime Minister said: "We're saying that if there's something you need to help you get a job – for instance being able to speak English and learn English properly – it should be a requirement that you take that course, do that study in order for you to receive your benefits."

But the move has been condemned by Habib Rahman, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

"On one hand the Government cuts mean a huge reduction in English for speakers of other languages courses," he said. "On the other hand they are insisting that people attend the classes they have been cutting. In the Coalition, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing."