Good to see an article in Exec Digital about the business need for languages that pulls no punches. The article points out that the old adage, 'You can buy in your own language but you must sell in the language of your customer' is illustrated by UK export figures where we are losing out because of a lack of language skills. Where the language of UK customers is not English, we buy more than we are able to sell. We have £20,801m worth of exports to Germany, against £33.628m of imports; £13.596m and £16.673m respectively with The Netherlands and so on. The article mentions that the International Student Placement Office (ISPO), responsible for arranging placements for students of other EU member states with companies across the UK, has never been busier because of the deficit of linguistic ability in the UK. Unfortunately, the new government does not appear to be getting the message, judged by a recent article in the Daily Telegraph about the battle over EU civil service exams where Britain is seeking to relax the requirement that all candidates must complete entry examinations in a second language rather than improve the language skills of candidates. Plus ça change!