Casey Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:17 pm on 6th December 2016.

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Photo of Clive Betts Clive Betts Chair, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee 1:17 pm, 6th December 2016

I had the pleasure of hosting Louise Casey on a visit to Sheffield, where she identified both the scale and the speed of substantial Slovak Roma migration to the city, which is a significant challenge. She identified that even in Sheffield, which has a history of good community relations, those communities very often live side by side, with very little interaction, let alone any integration. Will the Secretary of State indicate his response to the detailed recommendations of the report, particularly a key recommendation for the creation of a new programme to improve community cohesion, with area-based plans and projects? Does he recognise that such a programme will need targeted funds, rather like the impact funds that the Government abolished?

Does the Secretary of State agree with Louise Casey that speaking English is key to integration? Will he agree to reverse the cuts that have been made to the funds available for courses teaching English as a second language? Does he have a view on the recommendations to promote British values in all communities, especially the values of tolerance and respect for others, which support equality on grounds of sex, sexuality, race and religion?

Given that many of the recommendations are challenging and some may be controversial, will the Secretary of State have a programme to consult elected councils and the different communities in the areas most impacted by the recommendations? Finally, after discussions with Government colleagues, will the right hon. Gentleman come back to this House with an action plan, and maybe even come to the Communities and Local Government Committee to discuss it with us as well?