Some of this is done by volunteers. More could be done, for example, by mobilising students to teach English.
Our central government is, however, the main provider of this essential service. It is essential because it enables refugees and their families to work or study, to communicate with their neighbours, and to move towards full citizenship. Despite this, government funding was cut by some 60 percent between 2010 and 206.
Lord Alton of Liverpool asked in an Oral Question on 6 February for increased resources. Our Government replied that some extra money is available for vulnerable refugees from Syria, and for Muslim women in general.
“Refugee Action” and other voluntary organisations are calling for government investment of 42 million pounds per year to provide at least 8 hours per week of English teaching for refugees in their first two years here.
This is a win-win proposal, and I support it wholeheartedly. It would help the shortage of nurses and other skilled people, and would reduce the need to bring in large numbers of low skilled workers each year.