Translating into huge expense

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On receiving my voter registration form, I phoned the number to confirm my details, to be greeted with a recorded message offering an additional seven languages.

This caused me to ponder if we are still spending taxpayer’s money on translation services, though the public sector is slashing services to the point where we are throwing pensioners out of care homes and into the street.

As I understand the law, the Race Relations Act states all parts of the community should have access to translation services, but says nothing about it being obliged to employ interpreters. It doesn’t say that we must bear the cost.

I suggest any foreign occupant who claims they don’t have command of the English language is offered a translator at their expense. If they can’t or won’t pay, the alternative should be to provide them with a book on English translation, followed by verbal and written tests to check their progress.

Are these translation services, which are costing the British taxpayer billions a year, exempt from cuts? Has anyone tried to recoup the cost?

The NHS spent £23m last year on translating into 120 languages. I dread to think what the police and justice system spent. This after demanding they make £20bn savings.

If councils and government protect the vast spending in this sector while neglecting indigenous citizens, I fear they will infuse a sense of racism among people who have never previously felt any bigotry.

Peter Flynn, Hillsborough