Search

Councillors clash over Havering’s literacy strategy

18:00 16 July 2013

Cllr Andrew Curtin

Cllr Andrew Curtin

Archant

A discussion about the borough’s literacy strategy almost turned into a debate about immigration.

Cllr David DurantCllr David Durant

Cllr Andrew Curtin (Con, Romford) and Cllr David Durant (Independent Local Residents’ Group, Rainham) clashed over the report at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday July 10.

Cllr Curtin said: “He was almost saying ‘who are these foreigners coming into the country who can’t speak English?’

“I have got a range of friends from different backgrounds and cultures and they all speak perfect English.”

The report looked at ways to improve literacy in the borough and ways to extend the good work being done in the area to increase it.

It sated: “language is the means by which we can diffuse controversies, offer compromises, explain our point of view, in the hope of finding a common group”.

But after hearing a presentation, Cllr Durant argued that the reason the issue had come before the cabinet is because of the rise in immigration.

He said: “The report places emphasis on teaching English to people who have English as a second language, therefore I am thinking it must be a serious matter to be able to teach these people English.

“It is now becoming a priority because of the large number of immigrants who are being allowed to come into this country who do not speak English.”

This was met by anger by Cllr Curtin.

He added: “Has Cllr Durant actually read my report?

“Like I said earlier, the English language can be used to oppress us, it can be used to control and constrain and to instill hatred and fear and Cllr Durant is a fine example of that happening.”

Cllr Curtin then went on to say that he was fluent in Russian and he found that it had given him a better understanding of English.

Cllr Durant responded: “That’s just political nonsense that reflects badly on him rather than on me”.

“I am merely pointing out that the reason this has become an issue is because so many people being allowed into this country who do not speak English.”

Despite the heated exchange earlier, the debate ended with a light hearted tone, with leader of the council Michael White speaking in Italian.

Cllr Curtin said later that he was “surprised” and “disappointed” in the “exclusive approach that was being taken to seclude people”.

He added: “I know lots of people from other countries who are very keen to learn English.

“It is not just about this group, there are lots of other reasons why people have poor literacy”

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:05
Leah who is part of the young people group at Havering Mind

The Recorder has launched a major mental health awareness campaign with charity Havering Mind, which will run throughout 2016. Through Mind Your Mental Health we aim to break down the stigma that persists and share advice for analysing and improving the wellbeing of our community. This week Emma Lake finds out how mentors can help young people

Yesterday, 17:00
Havering Mind's Live a better life programme, at, Harrow Lodge House, Hornchurch

Vanessa Bennett

It is estimated that in any given year 20 per cent of children will suffer from a mental health problem.

Yesterday, 14:00
The Recorder is running a competition where readers can win five family tickets to the London Aquarium

Up for grabs this week are five family tickets for one of the capital’s most popular attractions – the London Aquarium.

Yesterday, 12:01
Copper Box arena school dance championship, Abbs Cross Academy

Dancers have been celebrating walking away from a London-wide championship with two awards.

Yesterday, 07:00
Council is set to increase by 3.99 per cent

Residents face a bigger council tax bill after a 3.99 per cent increase was given approval on Wednesday.

Fri, 16:13
The team cross the finish line in Antigua. Picture: Ben Duffy

The first hurricane to hit the Atlantic in January since 1938 couldn’t stop four daredevils joining the elite group of people to row across it.

Fri, 13:09
The map shows the net increase of new businesses, which have opened in 2015 by areas. These figures take into account the number of businesses, which closed in the same year.

As new companies are launched around the borough, Romford continues to attract most of Havering’s start-up activity.

Fri, 10:21
Jon Hill outside Buckinham Palace after receiving his CBE. Photo: Jon Hill

When a loved one dies families can take comfort in having a body to bury and grieve over, but for decades the relatives of Northern Ireland’s “disappeared” have not.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe