Campaigners urge Ceredigion Council to adopt Welsh as main language of internal administration
Language campaigners have urged Ceredigion Council to move towards using Welsh as the main language of its internal administration.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Ceredigion has also written to Efa Gruffudd Jones, the Welsh Language Commissioner, calling on her to encourage the Ceredigion Council to introduce the move.
Gwynedd Council has been using Welsh as the main language of internal administration since 1996, while Carmarthenshire Council made the change in 2014 and Anglesey Council switched to Welsh in 2017.
Ceredigion Council is a member of the ARFOR scheme, a joint venture by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Anglesey Councils which seeks to use entrepreneurship and economic development to support the heartlands of the Welsh language but is the only council which does not use Welsh as the main language of internal administration.
In March 2011 the leader of Ceredigion Council at the time, Ellen ap Gwynn, committed to support the principle of making Welsh the official language of internal administration.
But Cymdeithas yr Iaith observes there has been no movement since then.
The campaign group argues that if Ceredigion Council were to formally adopt the principle of using Welsh as the main language of internal administration “not only would this enable the Welsh speakers who already work for the Council to make more use of the language in their work every day, but that would also act as an incentive for others to improve their Welsh skills”.
The Council is one of the county’s main employers, so it is seen as having a key role in creating opportunities to use the language every day and contribute to the growth in the number of Welsh speakers in the county.
The council’s Welsh Language Standards Annual Reports between 2018 and 2022 revealed the percentage of staff who speak and understand Welsh fluently (ALTE level 5) has remained at around 33%; the percentage who can write Welsh fluently has remained at 25%; and the percentage who can read Welsh fluently is static at 29%.
The percentage who can speak and understand Welsh between levels 3 and 5 has varied between 62% and 63%.
According to the latest Census, the percentage of Welsh speakers in Ceredigion fell from 47.3% in 2011 to 45.3% in 2021.
There were around 3,300 fewer Welsh-speaking Ceredigion residents (over the age of three years) in 2021 compared with 2011.
Sian Howys from Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “We realise that the Council will not be able to switch to administering mainly through Welsh overnight, but that is no reason not to aim to that.
“If we set a definite goal towards working mainly in Welsh, we could start by moving towards making Welsh the main administrative language in the near future.
“The recent results of the Census require firm and decisive policy changes to reverse the current decline of the language in the county.
“Changing the main language of Ceredigion Council’s internal administration to Welsh is one of the changes that is essential as we realize that goal.”
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