I understand the concerns about support for refugees, and agree that English language funding is vital for ensuring that refugees can integrate into British society. That is why I welcome the Government’s recent green paper, which sets out an ambitious Integrated Communities Strategy with English language learning at its forefront.
The Strategy, to which £50 million will be committed over the next two years, includes proposals for a new English Language learning strategy in England, as well as a new English language fund which will invite bids from local councils. Measures also include a commitment to the development and sharing of good practices in English language training for refugees.
This will build on existing provision of English language training, with local authorities which settle refugee families under the Vulnerable Person Relocation Scheme or the Vulnerable Children’s Relocation Scheme already required to ensure that these families receive English language support. £10 million in funding has been provided through to 2021 to enable local authorities to make more English language tuition available.
I am confident that the Integrated Communities Strategy will not only provide greater opportunities for refugees to learn English, but also achieve the wider aim of building a strong, integrated community across the country. With the Government currently reviewing views on the Strategy through an open consultation, I hope that Refugee Action will play a full role in contributing its opinions on these proposals.