Stephen Kinnock: As my hon. Friend will know, one of the council’s important functions is to manage programmes such as Erasmus, as well as English language teaching assistants going out to other countries, particularly those in the European Union. Does he agree that Britain’s membership of the European Union is an important aspect of the backdrop to the British Council’s work in demonstrating that the United Kingdom is an engaged international partner that, in particular, gives opportunities to young people in other European countries?

Tristram Hunt: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. In a sense, the British Council serves two purposes: promoting an understanding of modern Britain in modern Europe; and providing young people with extraordinary opportunities to learn other languages on the European continent and to see themselves as part of a broader European culture. It is one of the sadnesses of recent years that we have seen the decline of linguistic abilities in our schools, and the British Council is working to counter that.

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