Non-English speakers may lose benefits, says Eric Pickles
Sunday 19 January 2014
Immigrants who cannot speak English have no way of being a “full member” of British society, Eric Pickles said on Sunday, amid suggestions benefits could be stripped from those who do not learn the language.
The Communities Secretary admitted the details of such a policy had not yet been hammered out, but highlighted reforms made last year to cut translation services and boost spending on English classes.
A senior Liberal Democrat source said the idea of cutting benefits to non-English speakers was a Tory idea not agreed by the coalition, and warned their partners should not "chase Ukip's tail via the Sunday papers".
Speaking on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, Mr Pickles said: "Last year I stopped translation inside the Department for Communities and Local Government and asked local authorities to do the same, but at the same time I increased the amount of money available to learn English and we have done a series of quite innovative programmes of trying to target particular groups who don't speak English to give them the gift of English.
"We don't know how this policy is going to be put out, but I would say this - if you're on benefit or whether you're in work, you can't be a full member of British society unless you speak English and you're artificially reducing your chances of employment if you're not speaking English.
"I recognise we have not been able to get to everybody, that's why we have looked at doing it in places where people are confident to learn English. It might be the mosque, it might be at work, we might even look at doing it in some benefit places.
"I think if you're going to live somewhere, it is beholden on you to learn the language - I told a bunch of ex-pats in Spain it would be a good thing if they learnt Spanish... I think it is a good thing, you need to be able to speak to your neighbour, you need to be able to follow what's going on."
The Liberal Democrat source said: "These are proposals from the Tories which haven't been agreed in Government.
"We've already taken significant steps to make sure we all enjoy the right to move and to work, but not a freedom to claim.
"We will look at these proposals, but would prefer the Tories to agree policies in Government rather than chase Ukip's tail via the Sunday papers."
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...