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Pickles in English teaching plea

Councils should spend money on teaching people to learn English rather than translating documents into different languages, Eric Pickles has said.

The Communities Secretary claimed translation services segregate the population, as he hit out at "clearly ridiculous" examples including text in Urdu on pigeon feeding.

Mr Pickles said it is possible to be a good citizen in Britain but have a religion other than Christianity, adding it is important to create conditions where people talk to their neighbours.

He also said militants from the UK had developed a "strange bastardisation of Islam rather than something that's preached in mosques".

But the Tory front-bencher agreed it is a prerequisite for people who have lived in the country for a decent period of time to be able to speak good English.

Mr Pickles told Murnaghan on Sky News: "If you're an ambitious parent in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston, England, Mumbai or Beijing then you want your child to learn English because English is a passport to a better job and a better future."

Asked about councils producing leaflets in different languages for issues such as bin collections and libraries, Mr Pickles replied: "I can, I think, trump that. We actually did have one translated into Urdu on how to feed pigeons.

"It's clearly ridiculous, it segregates our population. I'd be far happier for them to put the money into getting people to learn English.

"I funded a scheme where we've taken learning English into different parts of the community, not just in further education or in mosques but in supermarkets and other places where we can target people to speak English."


From Belfast Telegraph