The British Council has welcomed recognition by MPs and peers from all parties of the importance of foreign language skills to the UK.
Responding to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on modern languages' Manifesto for Languages, John Worne, the British Council's Director of Strategy, said: "Whatever your politics, it’s great to see so many major UK organisations and leaders recognising that a grounding in a foreign language is a vital skill for every young life. Even a few words can make all the difference for travel, work and leisure – and that’s really important for UK’s economy, trade and international standing.”
The British Council's recent Languages for the Future report identified a severe shortage of UK people able to speak the ten most important foreign languages for the country's future - with 75% of UK adults unable to speak any of them.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.
We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.
We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover which was £781m in 2012/13. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.