Dyfodol i’r Iaith have written to the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, expressing their concerns regarding public policy and the Welsh language.
Rejecting the Welsh Language Bill was a retrograde step, and instead of formulating an innovative approach to the needs of the language, there is now a danger that the focus will solely remain on regulation and language rights. Dyfodol is convinced that a more comprehensive approach and a robust strategic framework is need if the target of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050 is to be realised. This would be an arrangement which would give the language due regard across all policy areas and address the social and community factors relating to its learning and usage.
The organisation calls upon the Government to adopt the principles of Language Planning which would encompass the needs across a wide range of key areas, including; creating Welsh-speaking households, Welsh in the workplace, protecting and strengthening the language within its strongholds, and its development as a natural medium within the community.
In the absence of the kind of expansive body promised within the Welsh Language Bill, Dyfodol calls for the establishment of a Welsh Language Agency within the Government, which would provide strategic leadership and ensure continuity of policy. The organisation would wish the Welsh Language Commissioner to remain in charge of developing and regulating the language standards, and to take on the role of Statutory Consultee for the language in relation to planning issues.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:
“We are anxious to open and extend this discussion in a proactive and positive manner. This is a critical time for the Welsh language, and we cannot afford to lose this chance to adopt comprehensive structures and a language planning-based approach if we are to see the Welsh language flourish in the future.”