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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Stephen Lloyd MP secures meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May on English Language Schools

November 24, 2010 6:09 PM

Stephen Lloyd MP has been leading the campaign highlighting the impact of the Government's immigration policy on towns such as EastbourneStephen Lloyd MP today spoke in the House of Commons in defence of Eastbourne's many reputable English Language Schools. The Member of Parliament for Eastbourne and Willingdon spoke up for accredited English Language Schools, in light of national media pressure against bogus colleges, which is tarnishing the reputation of the numerous legitimate colleges such as those in Eastbourne.

Under current rules brought in by the previous Labour Government, immigrants are prevented from coming to the UK unless they have a specific standard of English. The English Language School industry claims that this has already had a devastating effect on their businesses, which contribute massively to Eastbourne's economy. The move was also widely criticised by the Conservatives in opposition, with the then Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green MP saying that "it is not so much the case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but using a sledgehammer to smash entirely the wrong object."

Responding to a statement by the Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Theresa May in the House of Commons on immigration policy, Stephen said in the chamber: "There are many approved, well established and highly reputable English language schools in my constituency...I am profoundly concerned about any further delay in sorting the problem with people coming to the UK to study English at such schools. I urge the Home Secretary to agree to meet me, a (and) cross-party delegation of MPs and the Immigration Minister as soon as possible, because many companies and businesses in Eastbourne and throughout the UK are suffering badly."

The Home Secretary agreed to meet a cross-party group of MPs led by Stephen Lloyd to discuss the impact of the Government's immigration policy on towns such as Eastbourne which have a high number of English Language Schools. In doing so she said: "I am well aware that my hon. Friend has made significant representations on that point....I would be happy to meet (with) a group of MPs to discuss the matter....We are conscious of the economic benefit of the English language schools and some of their very specific issues with particular countries. We are looking at how we can address that issue in our student visa proposals."

Stephen said: "I am delighted that the Home Secretary has agreed to meet me and a delegation of MPs to discuss what we can do about this problem. Many people do not realise the scale of the genuine and reputable English Language School sector both in Eastbourne and the UK, and I am worried that the Government's lack of movement on the issue will result in good schools closing and job losses. That is why I made it clear to the Home Secretary today that the Government needs to find a way around this problem now, so that it can achieve its aims of reducing net migration and growing the economy."