When the chancellor announced that welfare claimants who don’t speak English will have their benefits cut if they fail to attend language courses, it immediately attracted accusations of “dog-whistle politics” and peddling populist myths about “benefit tourism”.
“From now on, if claimants don’t speak English, they will have to attend language courses until they do. This is a reasonable requirement in this country. It will help people find work,” said George Osborne. “But if you’re not prepared to learn English, your benefits will be cut.”
The Sun’s political team certainly wasted no time tweeting: “Non-English speakers will have their benefits cut if they don’t learn the language. #SR13”
Osborne was building on recent pledges by David Cameron and Theresa May to clamp down on “benefit tourism” before the lifting of labour market restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians at the end of this year.