The government has unveiled new proposals to focus English language teaching where it will have the 'biggest impact' in boosting community cohesion and integration.
Skills secretary John Denham has unveiled proposals to prioritise resources for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to promote community cohesion.
This would mean re-targeting spending towards those who have made a long-term commitment to live in Britain, rather than economic migrants who may only be here for a short time.
Mr Denham said: "Since 2001, spending on ESOL has trebled and over two million people have been helped to improve their language skills.
The consultation seeks to take these reforms further and is seeking views on:
A new national approach to funding ESOL to help prioritise funding and ensure local areas develop plans which identify the needs of vulnerable people
Suggested new national priorities for ESOL while local areas take responsibility to target funding to best meet the needs of their communities
The role of the voluntary and community sector in the provision of ESOL
Darra Singh, chair of the Commission on Integration & Cohesion , said: "I am very pleased to endorse the government's intention to place community cohesion at the heart of ESOL provision. I believe English language skills are fundamental to integration and cohesion for all communities and help to create strong, positive relationships between people from different backgrounds in the workplace, in schools and other institutions within neighbourhoods."
Communities and local government minister Hazel Blears said: "Speaking English is the greatest asset you can possess for getting involved in your community, and getting on and doing well for yourself and your family."