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Twelve reasons cuts to ESOL are the stupidest government cut yet

Monday 23 November 2015 International Students

The ability to communicate in a common language is the bedrock of a shared and communal society. For many UK residents whose first language is not English, ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’, or ESOL, is their way to find employment, enter education, and engage with their local communities and public services. 

Here's why cutting ESOL would be one of the stupidest government cuts yet:

  1. 850,000 UK residents lack basic English language skills.
  2. Yet since 2009, government funding for ESOL courses has been cut by 60%...
  3. ... and the wider adult skills budget, funding lifelong learning in colleges, has been cut by 35%.
  4. According to ESOL learner Nathanial Ghilazghi, "If you haven't done ESOL, you don't know how to communicate. You don't know how to live."
  5. Participation in ESOL has dropped by 22% since 2010...
  6. ...but waiting lists of up to 1,000 still exist in the vast majority of colleges.
  7. ESOL saves money for other public services: on interpreters, on misunderstandings, on mistakes.
  8. And ESOL is cheap! At the height of spending it only cost the Government £230 million.
  9. It makes it easier for EVERYONE in society to live together if we all speak the same language.
  10. It reduces poverty, skills shortages and community divisions.
  11. David Cameron agrees. He said it himself on 20 July: "we have parts of the country where opportunities remain limited...where language remains a real barrier".
  12. And then the very next day his government cut ESOL funding AGAIN!