Campaigners call for action to stop ‘crisis’ of young people leaving Wales

Picture by TheDigitalWay(CC0)

The Welsh Government isn’t doing enough to halt the “crisis” of young people leaving Wales, according to a campaign group.

They estimate that 117,000 young people between 15 and 29 years old have left the counties of Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire over a decade.

At a meeting in Blaenau Ffestiniog today, Cymdeithas yr Iaith published a series of recommendations in order to ensure that young people stayed in the country.

The policies include:

  • Abolish tuition fees for students who stay to study in Wales
  • New training colleges for vets and health workers in Bangor and Aberystwyth
  • New local banks established with the support of councils’ pension assets
  • Councils allowed to charge a tourist levy in order to fund projects like super-fast broadband

The out-migration posed particular problems for the Welsh language, the campaign group said.

It is estimated that Wales is losing around 5,200 Welsh speakers a year through out-migration from the country.

Policies to get to grips with the loss of young Welsh speakers would include:

  • A digital Menter Iaith, in order to normalise Welsh online
  • Move hundreds of public sector jobs out of Cardiff, including a national energy company
  • Earmark a proportion of every city region deal funding for Welsh language projects

‘Warm words’

Speaking ahead of the launch of the policy document, Jeff Smith from Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that the current level of out-migration was a “crisis for the language and the economy”.

“It will be very difficult for the Government to meet its target of reaching a million speakers if it’s not tackled,” he said.

“We’ve heard lots of warm words from the Welsh Government, but almost no action.

“Communities where Welsh is the main means of communication act are vital. They’re like a lung which supports the language across the whole country.

“We must protect the communities we have as well as creating more. That’s why we are publishing these new policies today.”

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