Britain far behind Europe in learning foreign languages with fewer than one in three under 30s able to read and write in anything other than English

The figure, 32 per cent, is half that of second-worst EU country Hungary, where seven in ten are proficient.

Experts point the finger of blame at the 2004 Labour government decision to make languages optional at GCSE.

Higher Education Policy Institute director Nick Hillman went one step further – calling it ‘probably the single most damaging education policy in England so far this century’.

Miss Bowler found 99 per cent of under-30s in Denmark read and write in two or more languages including their own