Call for ideas to protect Welsh language communities as commission chair warns they are at ‘tipping point’
A new Welsh Government commission is looking for ideas on how to protect threatened Welsh language communities, as its chair warned that they are at a “tipping point”.
The Commission for Welsh-speaking Communities, chaired by Dr. Simon Brooks, has been set up by the Welsh Government to make recommendations on how to help make sure the communities can thrive.
Campaigners point to rising house prices and increasing amounts of second homes as one issue facing Welsh-speaking communities. Welsh speakers who have grown up in those communities are finding it difficult to buy homes in the area, they say.
Simon Brooks pointed at the cost of living crisis, Brexit and Covid as additional issues that have pushed the communities to the brink.
He said: “We want to give everyone the chance to have their say on the future of our Welsh-speaking communities. Evidence and ideas submitted will be vital for us as we work on our recommendations as a commission.
“I’d encourage as many people to take part as possible, and I can promise that all ideas will be considered carefully.”
In comments made to the Guardian newspaper, Simon Brooks said that newcomers buying up homes after Covid, together with the economic stress of Brexit and the cost of living crisis, were pushing the Welsh language to a “tipping point”.
“What we face is an important moment in history,” he said. “Lots of things have been going on in a short period of time.
“You’ve had Brexit, which is a huge economic jolt, then the pandemic, which led to a race for space. To my mind, anglicisation has gathered pace.
“There can be a tipping point in terms of language use. The fear is that a lot of these communities are at that tipping point.”
The call for evidence opens today, 9 November 2022, and responses should be submitted by 13 January 2023.
The commission said that they wanted to hear from members of the public and organisations on all kinds of issues affecting Welsh-speaking communities, from housing and education to community development and regeneration.
Minister Jeremy Miles said that strengthening Welsh-speaking communities was central to the Welsh Government’s strategy of doubling daily use of Welsh by 2050.
“It’s crucial that our communities are strong and protected so Cymraeg can thrive,” he said.
“Challenges facing Welsh-speaking communities have increased in recent years, and I’m sure lots of people will have views and suggestions to change this.
“This report will be valuable in seeing how the economy, policy decisions and demographics will affect the future of Cymraeg in our communities.”
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