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Haringey Council is lost in translation

PUBLISHED: 11:29 19 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:16 07 September 2010

HARINGEY Council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money translating documents - which are never read. The council forked out £386,665 last year translating pamphlets into foreign languages including Albanian, Bengali, Kurdish and Urdu.

HARINGEY Council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money translating documents - which are never read.

The council forked out £386,665 last year translating pamphlets into foreign languages including Albanian, Bengali, Kurdish and Urdu.

But documents like the Haringey's women's directory, posted on the council's website, was not downloaded once.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of The TaxPayers' Alliance, has criticised the move as wasteful.

He said: "Spending taxpayers' hard-earned cash on translation services that no-one will ever use is shocking. If they have surplus money, ordinary families need it back. It shouldn't be wasted on pamphlets that people clearly neither want nor need."

The revelations came to light after an investigation by More4 News, which was broadcast on Monday night.

The programme's producers sent Freedom of Information requests to all councils, hospital trusts, police forces and government departments in Britain.

The five biggest spending councils in 2008 were Glasgow (£433,470), Haringey (£386,665), Birmingham (£361,096), Southwark (£360,999) and Sheffield (£360,000). Camden Council refused to respond to the Freedom of Information request.

Haringey admitted that of 77 translated documents it published online, 26 were never viewed. Most of the rest were only viewed just once or twice.

A spokeswoman said: "Haringey has some 193 different languages spoken. We generally offer translations where requested rather than translate routinely, to ensure that all residents have access to service information.

"Where translations are produced for printed documents, they will then also be made available on our website as an additional service.

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