With more and more Indian and Chinese kids mastering English, UK government has launched a new 6 million pound fund to help non-speakers in the country learn the language.
Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles said the money will go towards encouraging projects that help
non-speakers learn the language, as it will help them "improve their circumstances and climb the social ladder".
From Mumbai through to Beijing, every aspirational parent is trying to get their kids to learn English. We should
have the same ambition for our kids. There is no question that Britain misses out, our country is the poorer, if people can’t speak our language," he said, during a speech on integration hosted by British Future and the Policy
Exchange here yesterday.
So language is a big part of our plans to bring people together and help Britain prosper in 2013. Instead of millions
lost in translation services, we'll be ploughing in 6 million ponds to encourage people to improve their lot," he added.
The Tory minister wants community groups, charities and businesses to bid for a share of the money so they can
provide "innovative and creative" ways of providing English language programmes.
We don't want people to cease being proud of their roots or lose touch with their culture, but learning English
should take priority," stressed Pickles, who blamed the previous Labour government for its extreme political
correctness "encouraging different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream".
Five per cent of UK households now have no-one who speaks English as a main language.
Prime Minister David Cameron has in the past also blamed the lack of language skills among immigrants as a major
cause for "discomfort and disjointedness".
His cabinet minister criticised the nearly 140 pounds million a year spent on translation services under Labour
instead of language lessons.
Pickles added: "The reality is you need English to succeed. You can't really function as a good doctor, a good
teacher... if you can't talk the language."