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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions (a) he and (b) the Minister for Employment have had with (i) the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and (ii) the Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning on the proposal to only offer free courses in English for speakers of other languages to those in receipt of active benefits.
Ministers and officials in the Department for Work and Pensions worked closely with their counterparts in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop the Government's strategy on skills for sustainable growth. For people who do not have the necessary English language skills to find work, the Government recognise the importance of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) training in helping them gain employment and to contribute to society. It is equally vital that where people are required to engage in the labour market as a condition of receiving benefits that appropriate support is in place. The Government's priority is therefore to focus the available resources of publicly-funded ESOL provision on people whose lack of English is preventing them from finding work.