May 31, 2022 12.39 pm This story is over 24 months old

Councillor claims 90% of EU citizens in Boston can’t speak English

“They’re going to pull us down. How can we communicate with these people?”

A councillor has raised concerns about the literacy of EU citizens living in Lincolnshire.

Councillor Anton Dani says he believes 90% of those working in his Boston constituency can’t speak or write English.

He said the problem was most noticeable in people from Romania and Bulgaria, and said it was very hard for the colleagues of those working in factories to communicate with them.

It came as Lincolnshire County Council’s Public Protection and Communities Scrutiny Committee discussed a report of improving adult numeracy.

The Boston North representative asked whether free English lessons could also be provided to overcome language barriers.

Councillor Dani said: “I believe that Boston is probably more than 30% EU citizens. And what I have noticed in dealing with people from the EU, especially from Romania and Bulgaria, 90% are illiterate in the country they live.

“And these people are working in factories. Talking to some people who work with them, it is very hard to communicate with them.

“It’s hard for them to speak English. It’s hard for them to learn.

“We have these people in town and we’re not pushing them to learn… They’re going to pull us down. How can we communicate with these people?”

Funding and Investment Manager Mandy Ramm told the meeting the numeracy scheme hoped to reach people who needed support through their workplaces, and that language support would be provided.

“I think that will come down to getting into the right businesses, as you say many employed through factories. So it’s working with the employers to sell the opportunity to them and the benefits to the business.”

She added: “It’s absolutely pointless trying to use some of the terminology within numeracy even at a very basic entry level. They need to be able to understand that to be effective for them.

“So we will build that into any course offer. And I think the best way to access these people is to go to the businesses directly.”