Do immigrants to the UK need to learn English? | DailyStep English

Do immigrants to the UK need to learn English?

This is Jane Lawson's Audio Blog #058 at DailyStep English


Hello, I’m Jane at DailyStep English and welcome to my Audio Blog.


This week, I want to tell you about something unexpected that happened to me last week. On Friday morning, about nine o’clock, I received a telephone call from BBC Radio 2 asking me to be a guest on one of their programmes, speaking about Government proposals about English learning. I was pretty surprised, of course, but it was great to be asked, and I had to really rush to get there, very …it’s about one hour from where I live but I had quite a lot of things to do before going, so it was a busy day. But it was also a really interesting experience and a very interesting subject.


So my Audio Blog today is about that and you can also hear the interview as well. And, also, of course, you can find out what is coming soon in the DailyStep Audio Lessons. And finally, I just hope you have all had a wonderful 2012 – this is my last blog of the year and I’m really looking forward to doing more blogs and more courses and everything with you next year.


So, let’s move on now and look at the subject of learning English in the UK.

Learning English in the UK 
by Jane Lawson at


Should immigrants coming to the UK, or who already live in the UK, have to learn English? Or can you manage to live in a country without ever really speaking the language? This is a hot topic in the UK at the moment. Last week the Labour Party leader, Ed Milliband, proposed that anyone who works in a publicly funded job and works with members of the public should have to have a certain standard of English. He also said that we should reduce the amount that we spend on translation of public documents, because this makes it easier for people to avoid learning English. Of course, it is only the first generation of immigrants who don’t speak English. Their children, who attend school along with other English kids, quickly pick up the language.


The UK National Health Service currently spends around £23 million (twenty three million pounds) a year on providing interpreters for situations such as hospital appointments. Ed Milliband is proposing that this money should be cut, and the money that is saved should be spent on improving access to English classes. Last Friday, on 14th December, I was asked to give my opinion about this on BBC Radio 2. You can hear the interview by clicking the link at the bottom of this article.


I think it is essential to have at least a basic standard of English if you live in the UK, or in any English speaking country. How can you possibly manage without it? I remember a trip to Bulgaria a few years ago, and I speak no Bulgarian at all, when I was trying to buy a train ticket with only a phrasebook in my hand. I could read the phrases with poor pronunciation, but I had no idea what the man at the ticket desk was saying to me! It made me think how difficult it is for people to come to the UK and suddenly have to speak English! But, as you will hear if you listen to the BBC Radio 2 discussion, some people have relatives who speak English and they only mix with people from their own country, so in that case it can be easy to avoid learning the language.


Of course, it can also be hard to find the time and energy to learn English, especially if you are working hard and perhaps supporting a family as well. That’s why it is important to learn how to study in your own time and at your own pace, and to practise a little English every day if you can.


You can also hear the full interview here: 


This discussion was broadcast in December 2012 as part of the Jeremy Vine show, an interesting daily talk show on BBC Radio 2. The discussion I was in was about 10 minutes long.

Although the level is advanced, do try to listen and see how much you can understand.

 What is a DailyStep English Audio Lesson?



Well, that is it for today! I’ll be in touch again soon. Thank you for your many requests about subjects you would like me to cover in my blogs. I will cover as many of them as I can!


If you would like to subscribe to my regular audio lessons, and also have full access and download rights to the audio in all my blogs, please click here.  You can see a video of how to use the lessons below. Please email me at if you have any questions or suggestions. I look forward to helping you improve your English!



Best wishes,


How does a DailyStep subscription work?

DailyStep Audio lessons make you speak English like a native speaker for a short time each day, and help you to understand native speakers perfectly. 
If you subscribe to my regular DailyStep audio lessons, I will send you 5 expertly- designed audio lessons per week, so every month you get approximately 22 lessons per level. You choose the level yourself that you think will be challenging for you - not too easy, not too hard - and you can change your level, or add more levels, at any time after joining.

  • Each weekday (Monday to Friday), you receive an email containing a link that takes you straight to your audio lesson.

  • Each audio lesson contains a short conversation, with an audio file and script, as well as vocabulary and style notes to help you understand it.

  • Key phrases in the conversation are hidden at first so you can test your listening skills. You can then uncover the hidden text.

  • There are 2 audio files per lesson – one at fast, natural speed and a second audio file that is slowed down using special software to 65% of natural speed. This allows you to hear exactly how the language works.

  • You copy the native speakers by speaking along with the audio files to improve your pronunciation, rhythm, speed and intonation.

  • All your lessons are stored for you in an online Personal Lesson Bank so you can log in to take them again any time, or take lessons you have missed – even after your subscription has expired!

  • You can download the MP3 audio files to your computer, mobile phone or i-pod.

  • The lessons take only 5 - 10 minutes each day to complete, and you can log in and take your lessons from any computer.

  • There are no advertisements to distract your attention.


As a subscriber, you will also get full access and download rights to the audio in my Teacher’s Blogs, with cultural articles and downloadable audio grammar lessons.


DailyStep Audio Lessons are exceptionally good value – I believe in keeping prices down so that better English is affordable for everyone! There is a 30-day money back guarantee, so there is no risk at all! So what are you waiting for? A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!