‘Too much time and energy wasted’ on Welsh language standards, ex-Welsh Language Minister suggests
A former Welsh Language Minister has suggested that “too much time” and “energy” has been “wasted” on Welsh Language Standards.
Alun Davies, the Labour MS for Blaenau Gwent, questioned the measures, which were created to ensure that the Welsh language is not treated less favourably than the English language in Wales.
The standards mean some organisations in Wales, such as public bodies, have to provide some services in Welsh as well as English.
During a debate in the Senedd, Alun Davies said: “When I was learning Welsh, there were concerts in Blaendyffryn—the Llywydd will remember these too—and that did more for me in terms of promoting the Welsh language, enjoying the Welsh language, than any lessons that I attended. I didn’t have lessons in school, but that’s a different issue.
“But we have to create the opportunity where people can enjoy the Welsh language, and where the Welsh language isn’t the language of the classroom, but the language of people’s daily lives. And I wonder, Minister, how we can achieve that.
“I do become concerned that we’ve wasted too much time, too much energy and too much resource on creating standards that generated bureaucracy, rather than promoting the fact that we can enjoy our language, and I think that’s extremely important.”
The Welsh Language Minister, Jeremy Miles replied: “In terms of the broader question of promotion, I’d say that promotion is a general term, but there are many things that are happening within that.
“Part of it is advice to business, part of it is creating single-language spaces, empowerment of communities through the work of co-operatives and so forth, technology—I’ll come back to that in a minute—and also behavioural aspects.
“People who can speak Welsh language don’t use it—why? What can we do to encourage them to do so? Transmission, training leaders, outreach with communities of refugees to learn Welsh and so forth—all of these are elements in that process of promotion.
“But, in looking at the individual elements, it draws attention to the fact that the responsibility for those things are with a number of bodies. So, it is vital, I think, in terms of transparency and people seeing their responsibility, that we do look at those elements individually.”
The Welsh language standards are enforced by the Welsh Language Commissioner. They were brought in after the Senedd passed the Welsh Language Wales Measure 2011.
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