English UK and members meet former Trade Minister Conor Burns
21 July 2020

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English UK and members meet former Trade Minister Conor Burns

As part of our campaigning around business rates relief and the immigration bill, English UK arranged a meeting with Conor Burns MP and two language centre members in his Bournemouth constituency.

During the very positive 23 June meeting English UK outlined its asks of the UK government and raised the possibility of an amendment to the immigration bill which would allow group travel without the need for a passport for groups of EU juniors after Freedom of Movement ends. Spencer Fordham, one of the Bournemouth members present, pressed Mr Burns on reinstating work rights for students at ELT centres. The meeting, which also included Bournemouth principal David Jones, also raised the possibility of Mr Burns organising a summit of MPs interested in the industry's issues.

Mr Burns, who had recently stepped down as Minister of State for Trade Policy, responsible for ELT centres, pointed out that both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary were very sympathetic to international students and that he thought there might be "pushing at an open door" in terms of group travel for teenagers. He saw the reinstatement of work rights as a much longer-term campaign and suggested that a starting point might be to get ELT premises reclassified as educational buildings for the purpose of rates.

On business rates, he said that he had spoken to the chief executives of his local council to say it was "absolutely vital that they exercised their discretion" to allow the rates relief to ELT centres, and said he hoped other MPs would do the same in their constituencies."

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