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UK must set date for everyone to speak English: ex integration Tsar

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The should set a target date for everybody in the country to speak English and come up with "big, bold policies" to issues around integration, a former said today.

Dame Louise Casey, who wrote a report for the government on integration in 2016, said a "common language" would help to "heal rifts across Britain".

She also called for further work on gaining equality for women, and the "white working class population".

The Integrated Communities Strategy is due to be published later this week.

In her 2016 report, Dame Louise recommended providing additional funding for local government to promote English language skills, including prioritising adult skills budgets and providing community-based classes.

But 52-year-old has criticised the for not taking any action since its publication.

Speaking on BBC Radio, Dame Louise said that integration should be "one of the most significant priorities" for the government and that any more delays to the strategy would be "incredibly frustrating".

She called for "big, bold policies" to tackling issues around integration, including a "very significant boost" in promoting the English language.

Dame Louise said: "I would be quite old school about this and I would set a target that says by 'x' date we want everybody in the country to be able to speak a common language."

She added: "I don't care how we've got here, I don't care who can't speak English [and] I don't care what's going on.

"But what I do know is everybody of working age and of school age should be able to speak one language and I think the public in particular would feel some relief."

She also called for "social-economic splits" to be addressed in the strategy, which she pointed to in her own report.

"It's not only about the tides of immigration and migration and English language, but some of this is about equalities for women, as well as equalities overall, as well as in terms of social and economic disadvantage.

"Let's see what they come up with," Dame Louise added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 21:00 IST