Most people agree that speaking the language of the country you are in benefits you. It doesn’t matter so much in certain circumstances, say if an English-speaking engineer went out to Dubai for a year, but in general it gives you a significant advantage: it gives you much greater access to services, the legal system and every day life. Some translations are provided, and while these are useful, they can only cover certain areas. The ability to speak the language is especially important when an individual is amongst the weakest in society, thanks to a lack of education, wealth, connections, and so forth.
It also benefits society as a whole, as it increases interaction, makes teachers’ lives easier and means the state has to spend less money on things like translations. Therefore it makes sense for the government and local councils to provide services in order to achieve this. Which is why it is wrong that one local council is essentially abolishing their service:
The founder of a renowned language service facing massive council funding cuts said she was â€œvery sadâ€ it was being axed after receiving an MBE for her 28 years with the organisation. Rosalind Carter was head of Hounslow Language Service (HLS) for nearly three decades, and it developed a national and international reputation for supporting children and families…
HLS now helps more than 7,000 youngsters from ethnic minorities to develop their English. But Hounslow Council announced last year it would end its Â£686,000 annual subsidy â€“ axing up to 80 jobs and leaving just a handful of teachers and staff. Mrs Carter, who retired as head of HLS three years ago and now works as a part-time adviser, is among those who could face the axe.
It is not as if Hounslow Council are short of money.
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Filed in: British Identity,Economics