English a foreign tongue among many London families

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 11:40 hrs

London, Dec 13 (IANS) For nearly 25 percent of families living in many areas of the British capital, English is a foreign tongue, the latest census has revealed.

Census figures released this week said just 44.9 percent of Londoners describe themselves as white British, the Daily Mail reported.

The Office for National Statistics said English is not regularly spoken in between 20 and 25 percent of houses in a number of boroughs across the capital.

In the east London borough of Newham, around 24 percent of households do not have English as their main language, while in Brent, in northwest London, and in Westminster, the figure is around 22 percent.

Officials said efforts are underway in ethnically diverse areas to encourage people to use English. They said they were concerned that the language barrier could leave women and elderly people isolated in their homes.

Authorities in Newham have stopped supply of foreign language newspapers to libraries as part of its policy to promote integration.

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