Dismore raises need for courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages

At today’s Assembly Budget plenary, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM raised the need for courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). (Video here)


Mr Dismore said:


‘In September 2015 we saw another example of un-joined up Conservative Government,  when on the one hand the DWP, mandated  people  to go on ESOL courses or lose their benefit; and on the other  BIS (now BEIS) entirely cut the funding for such courses.


‘Result? A job seekers’ Catch 22; redundancies in ESOL staff in colleges across the country; and undermined community cohesion, by taking away a fair chance for migrants to build their lives for the future.


‘The Mayor’s manifesto commitment to:


‘oppose the cuts to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes in London’s colleges, and lobby the Government to restore funding’


was very welcome, as is his: A City for All Londoners’ statement :


’I will assist the settlement of new migrants to London to ensure that everyone can play an active and dynamic role in London’s growth – for example by working with partners to increase the accessibility of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses”


Mr Dismore asked the Mayor:


‘What progress are you making with Government; and will you look at the recommendation passed by the Assembly in November 2015, ignored by your predecessor:


‘To commission a study from GLA Economics looking at the costs and benefits to the London regional economy of government funding for ESOL’?


The Mayor said that it was right to remember the economic argument for English. There was no point in politicians complaining then cutting the funding, making it more difficult to learn English. The GLA is working on a strategy in preparation for the devolution of the skills budget, and a consultant is mapping provision to inform the wider skills strategy.