Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley visited an English language lesson for refugees in Bradford ahead of the anniversary of the Casey Review.
Next week will mark one year since Dame Louise Casey’s review into opportunity and integration was published on December 5, 2016 and the Government has yet to respond.
The review highlighted English lessons as the most important factor in helping immigrants integrate into their new communities. However, funding for classes has been cut by more than 50 per cent since 2008.
According to a report in The Independent staff at centres in areas of the country with particularly high migrant populations say that waiting lists for classes were often between two and three years, with many saying Government cuts to spending on the lessons had left the system in disarray.
The Green Party has now written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid to ask how the promotion of English language skills will be included in the Government’s upcoming integration strategy.
Asian Sunday has seen the letter sent to Sajid Javid, where Bartley writes accusing the Government of failing to respond to the independent review by Dame Louise Casey into opportunity and integration. In the letter Bartley asks, how the Department for Communities and Local Government intends to respond to the Casey review and if it will be considering increasing funding for lessons in future years.
Bartley told Asian Sunday:
“It’s disgraceful that the Government has firstly reduced access to such a vital service and secondly ignored the evidence that we are failing to ensure social integration. Being unable to communicate is a huge barrier to refugees trying to start a new life in Britain and will only lead to isolation and loneliness.
“All refugees want to do is settle into their new homes, rebuild their lives and become part of their communities. But the Government is effectively shutting them out by cutting off funding for the English language lessons they need to communicate.
“I’m looking forward to visiting Bradford and seeing first-hand what an impact English lessons can have on refugees’ lives and making the case for them to be front and centre of the Government’s new integration strategy.”
Councillor Hawarun Hussain (Shipley) who joined Jonathan Bartley on his visit said, “It’s great that Jonathan has come up to Bradford to see the great work being done in our city to make refugees feel welcome and to help them to adjust to life in the UK.”
“However, cuts from the Theresa May’s Government in Westminster are making their job even harder and people who have already endured tremendous hardship are being let down.”