Council hits back at criticism over Welsh language policy saying it is ‘bi-lingual’
Dale Spridgeon, Local Democracy Reporter
Anglesey council, accused by Welsh language campaigners of “putting up signs in English,” has hit back by saying it is a “bilingual local authority” with a “commitment” to the language.
The response was to comments made over news that Gwynedd’s council – or ‘Cyngor Gwynedd’ as it is now increasingly to be known – recently adopted a reformed Welsh language policy.
The policy will see staff only using the Welsh name Cyngor Gwynedd when referring to the council and prioritising Welsh in all aspect of its work.
Cymdeithias Yr Iaith, a group which campaigns for the rights of the people in Wales to use the language in every aspect of their life, had praised Gwynedd, whilst urging other local authorities to follow suit.
It had also expressed “sadness” at other local authorities’ efforts towards the language, including Anglesey, saying that Gwynedd had worked mainly through Welsh for years and was “an example” to other councils and organisations.
“There is nothing to prevent other organisations from drawing similar language policies to build on the standards in an effort to meet people’s expectations and therefore promote and facilitate wider use of the Welsh language,” it had said.
“It is a matter of great sadness that many other organisations, several years since the introduction of the standards, still treat them as targets and even boast that they fulfil these minimum statutory requirements in terms of the Welsh language.
“Other councils, such as Anglesey, have put up new road signs with English names that did not exist until recently.”
The Isle of Anglesey County Council responded, saying 90 percent of its workforce was able to use Welsh, and the language’s use was “actively encouraged and supported.”
An Isle of Anglesey County Council spokesperson said: “Our Welsh language policy includes a commitment to work towards making Welsh the main language of internal administration for both written and verbal communication.
“Substantial progress has been made towards achieving this aim. All Council committees and senior management meetings are conducted in Welsh as a matter of course.
“Over 90% of our workforce is able to use Welsh and a range of support is available to help officers develop their Welsh language skills.
“Anglesey Council is a bilingual local authority, and all of our officers have the right to work through the medium of Welsh and are actively encouraged and supported to do so.”
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