This is a copy of the letter on cutbacks to the Welsh language, sent by Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair to Y Cymro and Golwg. A copy has also been sent to all Assembly Members, seeking their comments and support
Dyfodol i’r Iaith have highlighted the fact that the Welsh Government’s budget is set to rise each year until 2019/20 and that there is therefore no financial justification for cutbacks of 6% to funding for the Welsh language. These are the facts, but the Government is attempting to reconfigure and hide the true situation.
A spokesperson for the Government stated that Dyfodol i’r Iaith’s claims were “misleading” and that they do not “reflect the reality of the financial situation.”
But who is deceiving who? This is the money that the Welsh Government receives annually from the London settlement:
2015-6 £14.38 billion
2016-7 £14.56 billion
2017-8 £14.67 billion
2018-19 14.77 billion
2019-20 14.93 billion
By 2019-20, the Government will be receiving an additional half a billion pounds. This represents an increase of about 4%. The Government states however that that the money it receives will continue to diminish in real terms; that is, its true worth, allowing for inflation.
If the Government continued to provide the same amount for the Welsh language, its real value would therefore decrease in line with the rate of inflation. But by cutting the funding available for the language, it suffers twice – in terms of the real money- a cutback of 6% – and the money’s value allowing for inflation.
There can only be one explanation for these cutbacks to the Welsh language, and that is that the Government sets it low on its list of priorities.
This comes in the wake of many other blows to the language and its speakers:
- Cuts to S4C and further threats
- The Government’s failure to secure the growth of Welsh-medium education
- Government cutbacks to Welsh for Adults
- A 10% cut to Welsh publishing
Dyfodol i’r Iaith are very happy to praise the Government when this is deserved. Any money spent on the Welsh language pays back generously – in terms of jobs, attracting volunteers, maintaining culture and creating opportunities for people to use the Welsh language.
A clear vision is now needed of how to increase the use of the Welsh language and the number of its speakers. The Government claims to give priority to all activities that increase the use of the Welsh language. But no other country has ever seen linguistic advance following cutbacks to its language. Is our Government in on some secret in this respect?
Honesty in respect of discussing cutbacks to the Welsh language has to be the first step to ensuring a creative conversation,
Chair, Dyfodol i’r Iaith