Fears new Welsh Language Commissioner could be ‘trying to turn back the clock’ on role
Language campaigners have raised concerns that the proposed new Welsh Language Commissioner could be “trying to turn back the clock” on the role’s functions, following a Senedd Culture Committee hearing today, 13 October.
The favoured candidate for the position suggested that she would like to see the Commissioner doing less regulatory work imposing language duties on bodies and more “soft” promotional work, language rights group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has said.
Aled Powell, Chair of the Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “In 2017, the Government announced plans to weaken the Commissioner’s role and the Standards and introduce more soft promotion, despite there being no demand for such a move.
“Following widespread objection, those plans to weaken the legislation were dropped due to lack of support. The last thing we need is to turn back the clock and waste everyone’s time and energy returning to this old debate five years later.
“The Welsh Language Commissioner’s role is to impose Standards on bodies and ensure Welsh language services for the people of Wales in their everyday lives, without them being at the disadvantage of having to spend their own time trying to get organisations to comply with the law.
“The Commissioner is a small organisation but it can have significant influence if it focuses its resources on that and does its work effectively. At the moment there are organisations breaking the Standards repeatedly, and there are many important organisations and companies who aren’t yet included within the scope of the Standards.
“Anyone trying to live their lives through the medium of Welsh will know full well how far we have to go in that respect, so the focus of the Commissioner’s work has to be regulation, as legislated for relatively recently.”
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