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Last Updated: Monday, 5 June 2006, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Brown's language call to migrants
Gordon Brown
Learning the language will help people find work, says Mr Brown
Immigrants coming to Britain must learn English, Gordon Brown has insisted.

He argued that people entering the UK should "play by the rules" and that means learning the language in order to get work, the chancellor says.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that those who refused to learn English should be made to do so.

Immigrants should also be given an understanding of British history so they could learn values of freedom, liberty and tolerance, he said.


"I think people who come into this country, who are part of our community, should play by the rules," he told Today.

"I think learning English is part of that. I think that understanding British history is part of that. That's why I want to see changes in the curriculum.

"I think being more explicit as a country about what we value about being British is a very essential element of how we are part of the modern world."

He said people could be part of a global economy and benefit from it, but also have a "huge pride and patriotism" in their own country.

"I would insist on large numbers of people who have refused to learn our language that they must do so," said Mr Brown.

Higher education

"If someone is unemployed who doesn't speak English, they should have to learn English to make themselves employable.

"If you take preachers coming into this country, they should be speaking the English language and not refusing to speak the English language."

Mr Brown spoke out ahead of the launch of a pamphlet on the future of Europe's universities, which warned that wide-ranging reform of governance and financing was needed to ensure the continent does not lag behind the US and growing economies like China and India.

Mr Brown argues that Britain must drive up its spending on higher education if it is to maintain its competitive edge in the modern globalised economy.

He also indicated a willingness to look again at the 3,000 cap on annual tuition fees for students and to consider tax breaks to make endowments to universities more attractive.

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