An interview for the Politics Home Central Lobby with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sparked interest for the following exchange:
How will this affect councils that produce information leaflets in a range of different languages?
By and large anyone with any experience of this will tell you it is largely a waste of time. The general experience that we had was that I have got no problem with signposting, that is right, but in terms of wanting people, encouraging people, to be part of British society, they can't do that unless they have more than an understanding of English. If we don't get our resident population with an understanding of English then they become a sub-class that is virtually unemployable or are stuck in a ghetto. We should not be turning people out of our schools who aren't able to speak English like a native.
I think this is spot on and those who think they are being kind and sensitive by ignoring the problem are profoundly mistaken. I think that very many of those who are non-English speakers in this country would welcome the chance to learn and recognise it would transform their prospects. Those who can't afford the classes should have them offered for free.