13 June 2012 - The Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance (TRA) has welcomed a response from the Department of Health (DH) making available documents for standardised packaging in languages other than English and Welsh.
The TRA had written to the DH to point out that many independent retailers responding to the consultation do not speak English or Welsh as a first language and so could well be put off from replying to the consultation.
Suleman Khonat, a Blackburn retailer and North West Spokesman of the TRA commented:
“We are pleased that the Department of Health has made the documents available in the specific languages – Urdu, Gujarati and Tamil – that we had requested. However, it is a mystery why these versions were not available on the website from the start of the consultation in the way the English and Welsh versions were. Now, those retailers who speak Urdu, Gujarati and Tamil have only four weeks to reply to the consultation whereas English and Welsh speakers get 12 weeks – hardly the greatest illustration of equality.
“The Department of Health states in its English and Welsh consultation documents that other ‘formats’ are available, but you have to read through seven pages of complicated text in English or Welsh to realise this - something those retailers who don’t read those languages well are going to be hard pushed to do. At the very least, the DH should have highlighted on its website alongside the links to the English and Welsh versions that the documents were available in other languages."