BOURNEMOUTH council says claims in the national media that it has banned staff from using Latin words are untrue.

It has been widely reported this week that the council was among a number of authorities which ruled that phrases like ‘vice versa’, ‘pro rata’ and ‘via’ should not be used in speech or writing.

The councils were said to have labelled Latin “elitist and discriminatory” because people whose first language was not English would not understand it. It prompted a furious response from many Latin scholars, including Professor Mary Beard of Cambridge University, who said it was the linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing.

But Bournemouth Borough Council has denied issuing any such directive to its staff, adding that there is no intention to do so in the future.

Mark Smith, service director for corporate communication, said: “We are really grateful to the Echo for the opportunity to set the record straight.

“Inaccurate national reporting has caused a number of our residents to get in touch and ask us if the claims about Bournemouth council banning Latin are true.

“We are pleased to let them know that they are not. We have made it very clear to the media from the outset that no Latin phrases have been banned and there is no intention to do so.”

Mr Smith added that advice given to its staff in 2006 encouraged “plain language and clear information that is easy to understand and appropriate to the audience concerned”.

“The advice is intended as a guide only – not a direction.

“We have made it very clear that this is the case and are disappointed that some media have chosen not to accept this,” he said.