Like the Section 11 funding* and its use/ misuse many years ago, Harrow application for £398,160 public money revolves around teaching English language to unclearly and uncertainly defined group of people.
Harrow funding is important but what is also important is the premise for obtaining the additional public money, considering the biting cuts in public services around the country and more deserving cases somewhere else. Further concern is the expression of negativity about certain groups of people in a zeal to meet the funding criteria.
“Many migrants have no understanding of our cultural norms. This has led to numerous problems particularly in relation to the nature of their interaction and treatment of girls and young women” asserts the application.
The CMF was launched last November and allows local authorities in England to bid for funding for “responding to the problems caused by high migration” where the projects “will deliver benefits to the established resident population”.
Somewhat confused Harrow application sets the scene: “Harrow has an extremely diverse population. The population is 25% Hindu, 12% Muslim and 37% Christian (are these well established groups ‘migrants’?). This level of diversity has not helped migrants assimilate (there is obvious difference between ‘integration’ and colonial expectation of ‘assimilation’!!). Approximately half the client group of the Leaving Care and UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children) Team are, or were unaccompanied minors. In the last year the Team has received twenty-two new young asylum seekers. This does not include those who are Dublin Regulation referrals”.
Then the application points out, “The migrants referred to our service arrive with limited or no written or spoken English. In the past twelve months, including the Dublin Regulations and Dubb’s amendment children we have had 35 new children, none of whom spoke English”.
But the standard definition of “migrants” is those who choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death, but mainly to improve their lives by finding work?
Are these migrant ‘children’, some ‘minor’, here to find work ?
The Dublin Regulations are to reduce the number of “orbiting” asylum seekers, who are shuttled from member state to member state (EU).
An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee but whose claim hasn’t been evaluated.
Refugees are those fleeing armed conflicts or persecution.
So who are these children – migrants, asylum seekers or refugees?
The application has seeming made exaggerated case of the impact of the English language deficiency in a small number of ‘children’ on the lives of the rest of the Harrow population.
Moreover, a well run council should have credible professional risk assessment and could/should absorb pressures due to the demographic changes rather than draining out scarce national resources.
Perhaps the decision-making members of the council were tempted by £400k but not given an honest and clear picture.
*Section 11 funding
A problematic view of immigrants was legalised by the Local Government Act of 1966, stating a negative definition “immigration is the great social problem of this Century and of the next” – p1308 of Hansard: 1966/67: Volume 29.
In response, Section 11 of the Local Government Act of 1966 provided funding to the authorities to ‘help meet the special needs of a significant number of people of commonwealth origin with language or customs which differ from the rest of the community’. This funding was vastly obtained to integrate and teach English language to bilingual learners but was mostly used for all sort of things and was eventually discredited.