THE BLOG
25/10/2013 08:03 BST | Updated 24/12/2013 05:12 GMT

London Council Caught in Ukip Webb of Criticism

UKIP first London elected Councillor Lawrence Webb has launched a verbal attack on the spending policies of a London council.

The rant was in response to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea spending a staggering £271,000 on translation services to people whose first language is not English since 2011.

A freedom of Information (FOI) request sent to the local authorities revealed that expenditure on face-to-face and telephone interpreting cost the council £64,328 in 2011/12.

The figure sharply increased a whopping 18%, for the period 2012 until September 2013 reaching £76,084. The rise made it £140,412 spent in total including another estimated £30,000 on written translations in the last two years.

"It's amazing isn't it? There is no other country in the world that would provide benefits and services to people that do not speak English, they {other nations} would not provide this level of services for people". Said Lawrence Webb from the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

The Councillor and former London Mayor candidate, also attacked the policy and suggested that most of the help was probably Benefit claims related and was hurting the tax payer when he said,

"We have a very clear policy, if you come here {United Kingdoms}; you need to be able to speak English to access the benefit system.

I don't know what the nature of the calls were in this instance, because obviously all you know is that's what they are {benefit claims}.

It's an ever-increasing problem with the increasingly diverse nature of London that there is something like 300 different languages spoken across the Capital. To provide a service for all those languages is going to cost the taxpayer an awful lot of money".

However, a Council statement on the issue defended its spending policy on foreign translation services when the local authorities stated.

"The Council's Equalities Policy sets out its commitment to providing fair and equal access to its services.

Effective translation and interpretation (T and I) services are important in fulfilling this commitment to people whose first language is not English or who have other specific needs regarding the way they communicate".

Official council Figures of translation services:

Face-to-face and telephone interpreting £64,328 2011/12

Face-to-face and telephone interpreting £76,084 2012/Sep2013

Written translations £18,014 2011/12

Written translations £12,438 2012/Sep2013