Foreign benefits claimants are costing the British taxpayer over £500,000 a year in translation services alone. The services are provided so those who cannot speak English are still able to claim benefits.
Figures released to Andrew Rosindell MP show that the Department for Work and Pensions spent £542,972 on translations last year, up from £436,336 in 2011. In another parliamentary question the Department confirmed that nearly a quarter of those applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) cannot read or write in English.
A total of 23 percent of people claiming JSA have not attained level 1 literacy. This means their reading and writing is below that of a 5-year-old and they are unable to select a floor number on an elevator. As a result they are considered by government to be illiterate. Whilst the figures do not show how many of these are foreign nationals, only a tiny percentage of those educated in the UK fail to achieve this basic standard.
Andrew Rosindell MP said: “How can anyone realistically claim that a person coming from abroad, who cannot speak English, is here to get a job? A high level of the English language should be mandatory for anyone coming from abroad to the UK to find work.
“Our Government is working hard to help people into work and we simply cannot cope with having additional people added to the number of unemployed; for reasons like this.
“I think the British public will be deeply concerned that we are spending £500,000 on translation costs. It should be simple: before you expect to work in the UK, you will need to learn English!”
In recent years there have been moves to reduce the translation bill paid by government departments but the large hike in immigration has made this hard to implement.