Minister reveals proposals to safeguard Welsh speaking communities
Details of the Welsh Government’s plans to safeguard communities where Welsh is the main language and where there are large numbers of second homes will be revealed at the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron today.
Proposals include encouraging homeowners to give local people a fair chance when selling by allowing properties to be marketed locally only, for a fixed period.
The Welsh Government says it will also work with organisations such as estate agents to address the housing needs of those communities.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, will also announce a new Commission for Welsh-speaking Communities, Comisiwn Cymunedau Cymraeg, which will bring together experts to make policy recommendations to protect and strengthen Cymraeg as a community language.
The Welsh Language Community Housing Plan, which will be published in the autumn, will also include support for social enterprises and community housing co-operatives, as well as steps to protect Welsh place names.
“For the Welsh language to thrive, we need sustainable communities and good job opportunities in the areas where it is widely spoken,” Mr Miles said.
“Through our Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, and the Commission for Welsh-speaking Communities we’re announcing today, we and our partners will work together with communities where Welsh is the main language and help them develop plans which protect their identity and our language.
“This isn’t about imposing solutions, so everything we do will be in line with local communities’ aspirations.”
“The Commission will help us develop future policies to sustain the language in those communities traditionally considered its heartlands. This isn’t about setting up a new body, it’s a group of experts in a range of fields who will give us a completely candid view about how the economy, policy decisions and demographics are affecting the Welsh language.
“I’ve said many times that the Cymraeg belongs to us all, as does the responsibility for its future. We’ll have to be brave and tackle things together that might be difficult. I’m sure that some of the things the Commission will tell us will be challenging, but that’s important – that’s what will help us find the most effective answers!”
Dr Simon Brooks, who previously published Second homes: developing new policies in Wales for the Welsh Government, will chair the Commission.
“As a Commission, we’ll examine the linguistic reality of Welsh-speaking communities today in order to make policy recommendations which will help safeguard them for future generations,” Dr Brooks said.
“The Commission will produce a comprehensive report, bridging policy areas from education to the economy.
“By looking at these together, we want to help develop answers to the challenges facing our Welsh-speaking communities as a whole. Cymraeg belongs to us all and developing Welsh-speaking communities is crucial to its future as a living language.”
As part of the Programme for Government and Co-operation Agreement commitments to tackle the negative impact second homes and a lack of affordable housing can have, the Welsh Government has extended the discretionary powers for local authorities to increase council tax on second and long-term empty homes by up to 300%.
Last month, the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru announced further plans for new planning laws, a licensing scheme for visitor accommodation and proposals to change land transaction tax in areas with large numbers of second homes, as part of their Co-operation Agreement.
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Proposals include encouraging homeowners to give local people a fair chance when selling by allowing properties to be marketed locally only, for a fixed period. That will work Not – Most local people cannot afford to buy no matter what because the Welsh Govt do not encourage good job opportunities in the areas where welsh is widely spoken. As usual a welsh Govt soundbite which lacks any substance.
Step in the right direction but well off the mark! So the houses which will inevitably be at a high premium, will be taken up eventually by those with shed loads of cash. So the social housing being discussed will be there for the locals. Didn’t work back in the 15 century, so why do they think it would work now!
Here is something positive. Someone doing something to protect our country, language and identity. Just the ticket in the current climate.
The language and the land and rivers of Wales should go hand in hand…Julie James will you read Oliver Bullough’s article in the Guardian on the state of our rivers and take action against the criminals who defile our natural resources…think place names, for instance…Avon c***u…
Most young people in Cardiff or Newport can’t afford to buy a house either. Why can they not benefit from a scheme like this? If it’s good enough for Y Fro why not for the rest of Wales?
Correct. You have at least 2 “shock waves” on house pricing. One is the effect of wealthy immigrants into primarily rural and coastal areas. The second is the knock on effect of Cardiff market forces leading to “gentrification” of certain communities within the city which had hitherto been regarded as traditional working class housing. This in turn is pushing into the valleys past places like Caerphilly into communities further inland. These patterns or variants are repeated through most of Wales.