POLITICS

Translating Documents Stops Migrants Learning English, Says Eric Pickles

12/03/2013 15:27 GMT | Updated 18/03/2013 18:32 GMT

Eric Pickles has ordered local councils to stop translating documents into foreign languages in order to encourage immigrants to learn English.

In a statement to parliament on Tuesday, the communities secretary said translation "undermines community cohesion by encouraging segregation".

"Stopping the automatic use of translation and interpretation services into foreign languages will provide further incentive for all migrant communities to learn English, which is the basis for an individual’s ability to progress in British society," he said.

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"It will promote cohesion and better community relations. And it will help councils make sensible savings, at a time when every bit of the public sector needs to do its bit to pay off the deficit left by the last Administration.

Pickles also suggested local authorities may be better served by "using pictures instead of translation" to explain services to residents who did not have good English skills.