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THE Government is preparing to slash Britain’s benefit bill by taking away handouts from thousands of immigrants that do not speak English, reports say.
David Cameron was set to announce the decision, which is designed to encourage those living in the UK to learn English and save thousands of pounds being spent on translators.
The plan to axe foreign versions of documents needed to claim benefits was drawn up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, according to the Mail On Sunday.
The Tories believe that by doing this it will be harder for immigrants, like those who recently arrived from Romania and Bulgaria, to apply and receive handouts.
One Tory insider told the newspaper: “The vast majority of voters will think this idea is plain common sense. It is unreasonable to expect taxpayers to spend huge sums on translators when people should be learning to read and write English.”
The delay surrounding the decision has come because of a bust-up between Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
If you’re on benefit or whether you’re in work, you can’t be a full member of British society unless you speak English”.
Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary
However, Tory sources reportedly said the announcement is likely to be made later this week.
One official involved in the plan said: “Cameron and Duncan Smith are very enthusiastic about it, but the Lib Dems had a wobble. They are nervous of being portrayed as being too harsh on immigrants.”
Non-English speakers have little restrictions on claiming benefits.
In most cases, claimants will be put in contact with an interpreter that can help complete their forms if any troubles arise.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spend £4.5million a year on face-to-face telephone calls for those in need of a translator.
The centres also use translation services that can help present different materials in a range of languages.
Local councils provide this service too, which accommodates for more than 140 languages, including Polish, Slovak and Urdu.
Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, has said it is necessary for immigrants who do not speak English to learn it.
He told Sky News: “We don’t know how this policy is going to be put out, but I would say this – if you’re on benefit or whether you’re in work, you can’t be a full member of British society unless you speak English and you’re artificially reducing your chances of employment if you’re not speaking English.
“I think if you’re going to live somewhere, it is beholden on you to learn the language.”