100 Good Reasons to Study Modern Languages at University: Reason 96

posted by Simon Kemp

You should study modern languages at university, because if you don’t, it’ll cost us fifty billion pounds. Every year.

According to a recent BBC report, the UK may be losing that much due to our poor language skills as a nation. A cross-party group of MPs has called for a “national recovery programme” to improve our skills in foreign languages.  Baroness Coussins, speaking for the group, claims that ‘the UK economy is already losing  around £50bn a year in lost contracts because of a lack of language skills in the workforce.’ She also suggested British businesses were losing out on export opportunities, and struggling to fill posts, because of a lack of British workers able to speak a foreign language. Apparently,  only 9% of 15-year-olds are competent in their first foreign language in the UK, compared with 42% in 14 other European countries.

What could Britain do with an extra fifty billion a year?


£50 000 000 000 buys….

625 London Eyes every year. 

three hundred thousand Ferraris.

an Olympic Games in a different UK city every two months forever.

a Twix for everyone in China  every week (with enough left over to give everyone in Spain a Curly Wurly).

a fleet of 157 brand new Airbus 380s every year.

the NHS’s full running costs for 6 months,  or enough money to double the education budget.

an £800.00 Christmas present to every man, woman, child, baby and grandma in the UK every year.

And if helping out your country in its hour of need isn’t reason enough for you, then there’s also the fact that the dire state of Britain’s language skills puts people with, say, a university degree in French in a very competitive position on the UK job market at the moment…

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