Freedom of Information requests from More4 News have established that Councils are spending millions on translating documents that nobody reads. As well as asking Councils and other public bodies for information on the amounts spent on translations they also asked how many downloads the translated documents had from the websites.
Haringey Council spent £386.655 on translations last year. Many did not attract a single hit on their website. Translations of Haringey Women’s Directory into Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, French, Kurdish, Somali, Spanish, Urdu all went completely unread.
Baroness Warsi, the shadow minister for community cohesion and social action, called the spending a "colossal waste of taxpayers' money that flies in the face of common sense". "Instead of translating documents which no-one is going to read, they should have spent the money on teaching people English," she said.
Quite right. But how many Conservative Councils are still spending thousands on translations? Conservative-led Birmingham spent £361,096 last year. The total spending across the country from those who responded to More4 was £50.2 million.