News round-up 22/6: Labour signals immigration shift
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Labour leader Ed Miliband has signalled a change in Labour’s immigration policy be disclosing that he wants to change the economic rules to do more to help people already living and working in Britain. In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Miliband says that Labour had been too quick to dismiss the concerns of ordinary people as “prejudice”. He adds that he wanted to reframe the debate on immigration by pledging to reform a “brutish labour market”. However, Mr Miliband says that Labour could not say “British jobs for British workers”.
In other news, the Daily Telegraph writes that the number of children speaking English as a second language has topped one million for the first time. Quoted in the paper, Chairman of Migration Watch Sir Andrew Green said that the rise was “further evidence of the impact of mass immigration on our public services”.
Meanwhile, the Independent reports that Conservative party co-chairman Baroness Warsi pleaded with cabinet colleagues to drop what she warned would be seen as a “racist” policy when curbs on migrants bringing family members to live with them in Britain were discussed. The paper adds that Baroness Warsi said that the proposals, which would mean that individuals earning less than £40,000 should not be allowed to bring a foreign partner to Britain, would amount to a “white only” entry rule.
Education secretary Michael Gove has ignited a “furious coalition row” with the Liberal Democrats by proposing to abolish GCSEs, according to the Financial Times. The plans would introduce new exams for less able children and content-heavy academic ones for the rest, similar to the O-level qualifications that GSCEs replaced in the 1980s. The proposals were enthusiastically greeted by many Conservatives but reportedly upset the Liberal Democrats, who had not been consulted and yesterday promised to block the move, the paper reports. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said from the Rio+20 summit: “I am not in favour of anything that would lead to a two-tier system where children at quite a young age are somehow cast”.
The Daily Telegraph reports that teachers are threatening a fresh wave of strikes in the autumn, over changes to pay and working conditions. The National Union of Teachers is balloting members on a walkout throughout England and Wales, it says.
Lastly, the paper reports that the number of children taught in infant classes of more than 30 has almost doubled in four years. It says more than 47,000 pupils “are educated in super-sized classes,” up from 24,760 in 2008.
An administrative worker at Camden LBC asked staff to refer to its leader, Sarah Hayward, as “Dear Leader,” in a move “that would not be out of place in North Korea,” the Daily Telegraph reports. It says Ms Hayward said she did not know about the email and was happy to be called “plain old Sarah.”