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Migrants who cannot speak English could lose benefits

Immigrants who cannot speak English have no way of being a "full member" of British society, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said, amid reports that benefits could be stripped from those who do not learn the language.

Job centre Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"I think if you're going to live somewhere, it is beholden on you to learn the language," Mr Pickles said.

According to the 2011 Census, only 0.3 percent (138,000) of people living in England and Wales can not speak English at all, with further 1.3 percent (726,000) saying they could not speak English well.

A senior Liberal Democrat source said the idea of cutting benefits to non-English speakers was a Tory idea not agreed by the coalition, the Press Association reported.