Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What about accents and dialects?

How important is a common language to political integration?

UK should set date for everyone to speak English
The government should set a target date for "everybody in the country" to speak English to encourage integration, a former official has said.

Dame Louise Casey, who wrote a report for the government on integration in 2016, said a "common language" would help to "heal rifts across Britain"…

Dame Louise Casey
In her 2016 report, Dame Louise recommended providing additional funding for local government to promote English language skills, including prioritising adult skills budgets and providing community-based classes.

But she has criticised the government for not taking any action since its publication.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour, Dame Louise said that integration should be "one of the most significant priorities" for the government and that any more delays to the strategy would be "incredibly frustrating".

She called for "big, bold policies" to tackling issues around integration, including a "very significant boost" in promoting the English language…

Dame Louise said… "I don't care how we've got here, I don't care who can't speak English [and] I don't care what's going on.

"But what I do know is everybody of working age and of school age should be able to speak one language and I think the public in particular would feel some relief."…

She also called for "social-economic splits" to be addressed in the strategy, which she pointed to in her own report.

"It's not only about the tides of immigration and migration and English language, but some of this is about equalities for women, as well as equalities overall, as well as in terms of social and economic disadvantage… "

Conservative MP and former immigration minister Mark Harper… welcomed Dame Louise's recommendations and acknowledged there were concerns about areas of the UK where people cannot speak the language.

He told Westminster Hour: "I think the recommendations she has made are very powerful and I hope the government produces an ambitious strategy."

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