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Translators to stay

PUBLISHED: 15:07 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:08 02 July 2010

TRANSLATING documents into foreign languages costs each resident just 28p a year, the Assembly heard. The bill, which works out at less than £50,000 a year, also covers the cost of translators, sign language for the deaf, and brail transcripts for the bli

TRANSLATING documents into foreign languages costs each resident just 28p a year, the Assembly heard.

The bill, which works out at less than £50,000 a year, also covers the cost of translators, sign language for the deaf, and brail transcripts for the blind.

Cllr Robert Bailey, of Alibon Ward, brought a motion calling on the council to stop translating documents into languages other than English, and to stop employing translators.

He said: "Government research shows that these politically-correct strategies actually discourage migrants from speaking and learning English. To continue with these practices is a complete waste of money."

Cllr Bailey said that translation could 'easily cost councils more than £1,000,000 a year.'

But the figure was slammed by Cllr Charles Fairbrass, Leader of the Council, who said that in Barking and Dagenham it actually stood at £49,539, and had recently been reduced by half.

Cllr Fairbrass said: "This equates to 28.4p per resident per year. Personally I don't mind spending what amounts to roughly half a penny a week."

Cllr Richard Barnbrook, Leader of the Opposition, said that translating lessons into English for foreign pupils slowed lessons down.

Cllr Liam Smith, Deputy Leader of the Council, said that at Dagenham Park School, lessons were not translated as they went along.

Instead pupils who required extra English lessons were taught in separate classes so as not to disturb normal teaching.

An amendment was proposed by the Labour group that the council would review its spending on translation in line with recent advice from the government.

This was passed by a majority vote, with the opposition voting against.

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