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Government Minister Eric Pickles Says Schools Are Turning Out A 'Sub-Class' Of Migrant Kids

09/03/2012 12:25 | Updated 22 May 2015
Eric Pickles, Local Governments MinisterPA

Eric Pickles has sparked controversy after saying immigrants face a future as an unemployable 'sub-class' living in ghettoes unless they are taught to speak English 'like a native'.

"In terms of wanting people, encouraging people, to be part of British society, they can't do that unless they have more than an understanding of English."

"We should not be turning people out of our schools who aren't able to speak English like a native."

Mr Pickles also said that public bodies should not 'bend over backwards' to provide documents in dozens of languages.

He said: "In terms of wanting people, encouraging people, to be part of British society, they can't do that unless they have more than an understanding of English."

He said youngsters should be schooled in a 'common culture' and the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics would give an opportunity for people to 'fly the flags of Britain' with pride."

Talking about the Government's policy of integration, Mr Pickles said: "I have no truck with extremism.

"We are a tolerant nation and frankly I have absolutely no patience in adopting a kind of French system that is going to remove people from wearing headscarves. I think we are a little bit more confident and relaxed in our culture for that.

"I actually think that we need to be a little bit more upfront about it and say Britain is stronger, much stronger, because of British Hindus, British Sikhs, because of British Muslims, because of British Jews."

The National Union of Teachers hit back at his choice of words branding them "nonsense" and "offensive to many teachers and pupils".

Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, said: "Eric Pickles should be thinking of practical ways to ensure that anyone settling in this country is able to speak English rather than talking about sub-classes and ghettoes."

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