A local authority has been criticised after spending nearly £630 to translate a local housing newsletter into Urdu for one person.

Crawley Borough Council converted its 12-page quarterly Homelink into the language spoken in Pakistan and India after a single resident complained they couldn’t read it in English.

Details of the £627.60 payment were released this week by the Tory-run council in West Sussex.

A council spokesman confirmed that just one copy of the translated newsletter was printed.

It immediately sparked anger among other local residents, who received the original newsletter in April and May which was sent to 8,107 council tenants.

Peter Innes, 43, said today: ‘How can the council justify spending £630 on translating a magazine for just one person?’

‘The magazine is routinely just put in the bin by tenants and the advice in it is usually less than enlightening, so to my mind it is just a total and utter waste of money.’

Another local Claire Sanders, 29, said: ‘It’s all very well translating the magazine into another language, but where does it end?

‘If I phoned up and said I only spoke Klingon or Gaelic would they translate the magazine for me?’

A council spokesman confirmed that the Homelink magazine was translated in Urdu after a request by just one tenant, but said: ‘It was useful to do this as there was an article about welfare benefit changes.

‘The Urdu translation was for the Spring Homelink newsletter on the request of the tenant.’

He said that it was ‘unlikely’ that the magazine would be printed in Urdu in the future but said future decisions to print it in different languages would be taken on a ‘case-to-case basis’.

Urdu is spoken by more than 400 million people worldwide, with the majority of native speakers coming from India and Pakistan.

In Crawley Borough Council it is one of the top 10 most common first languages, according to council documents.

The Homelink magazine includes articles about when to pay rent, managing money, how welfare benefits are changing and advice telling council tenants ‘not to swear at officials’.

The Urdu-speaking resident can now also read tips on how to ‘spring clean your home’ and ‘living in your neighbourhood’ in the magazine.

Source: Daily Mail