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COHESION CHIEF ENTERS TRANSLATION CONTROVERSY

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The chairman of the Commission on Integration & Cohesion has told councils not to provide so many translation servi...
The chairman of the Commission on Integration & Cohesion has told councils not to provide so many translation services for people whose first language is not English.

He said local government should also make sure it knows how much it is spending on the services, Darra Singh said.

His comments followed media reports that more than£100m of public money is spent on translation.

'We need a vision to aim for,' he said. 'We should be clear on how much money is spent and there should be fewer translations being made.'

The government should provide clearer guidance on when it is appropriate to translate, he added.

'There's nothing wrong with people speaking their first language - what is wrong is not learning to speak English and using it to participate in wider society.'

Last week prime minister Tony Blair said last week that all British citizens should speak English.

'It is a matter both of cohesion and of justice that we should set the use of English as a condition of citizenship.'

Meanwhile, the government's languages guru, Lord Dearing, today called for languages to become a standard part of the National Curriculum for primary schools.

Policy & politics

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