When Nick Clegg called for paid internships last week there was an ironic twist as it emerged that the coalition had just cut funding for that purpose.
Now, as Cameron makes his most rightwing speech on immigration to date, it is worth pointing out the flaw in his vow to make incomers speak the Queen’s English.
As the Guardian points out today, the coalition is making deep cuts to the state programme for teaching immigrants the language.
From the autumn these lessons will only be free for immigrants on jobseeker’s allowance and employability skills allowance – not those claiming income support and other benefits.
As the report says:
Newcomers to this country who lack basic English skills will have to pay half the cost of their lessons and employers will have to foot the bill for English lessons that take place in the workplace.
The lessons are known as ESOL: “English for Speakers of Other Languages” and are taken by about 180,000 people a year in further education colleges and community centres.
“We think that this change could mean that about half of all ESOL students in some cities will be shut out from attending lessons,” said Judith Kirsh from the National Association for Teaching English and Community Languages to Adults, the professional association for ESOL teachers. Kirsh said hundreds of ESOL teachers faced redundancy as a result of the changes.