Reuters, Feb, 12, 2007
Unemployed people who cannot speak English face losing their benefits as part of a far-reaching review into the labour market and welfare system, announced by the government on Monday.
More than four million pounds is spent on translators at jobcentres to help those who cannot speak English claim benefits.
Welfare Minister Jim Murphy proposed that from April, this money should instead be spent on improving the language skills of the unemployed to help them find work.
Government figures show that 15 percent of unemployed ethnic minorities have language problems.
“Potentially that’s 40,000 people being denied the opportunity to work because they do not have the language skills to get a job,” Murphy said.
Language skills would also result in empowering ethnic minorities in the labour market.
On average, they earn a third less than their counterparts nationwide, Murphy added.