Dyfodol i’r Iaith has welcomed the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling the housing crisis which is threatening the viability of the Welsh language within so many communities. The organisation is keen to emphasise however that the Government’s scheme must introduce a new use class for second homes, an option that is currently unavailable.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:
“We hope that the pilot scheme will be a positive development, but if we are to ensure a good outcome, the Government must, in line with Dr Simon Brooks’s recommendation, allocate a new use class for second homes as part of the trial. Following this, it would be possible to set restrictions on turning permanent dwellings into second homes and ultimately, restrict the number of second homes within those communities where the problem is at its worst.”
In the meantime, Dyfodol also calls upon the Government to adopt a comprehensive response to the crisis, and to urgently press on with social housing schemes and equity schemes to help local people to buy homes within their own communities.
Welsh-language movement Dyfodol I’r Iaith has backed a call by economist Gerald Holtham for policies aimed at encouragining young people to remain and work in Wales.
Dyfodol states, “The constant haemorrhage of young people from wales, especially from western areas, saps the energy of Welsh-speaking communities and undermines hopes for the revitalisation of the language.”
In article in Welsh language monthly Barn, Professor Holtham draws attention to the fact that Wales suffered a net loss of people aged 15-29 years between 2001 abd 2019. The total population increased by 107,000 over the same period through inward migration mainly of older people.
Says Dyfodol, “This imbalance is certain to be greater in the Western regions. We need robust, immediate action to stem the loss. That is why we support Professor Holtham’s call for implementing a package of measures to make Wales an attractive country for young people to live and create a livelihood, including:
- Further and higher education to be free for students who remain and work in Wales for five years after graduating
- Write off current debts for students who start a business in Wales, along with mentoring support”
Professor Holtham also calls for assistance for young people to obtain housing and to limit the growth of second homes to reduce the price of houses in districts like Gwynedd.
Concerning the Professor’s suggestion that young people from outside Wales should be attracted here to develop businesses Dyfodol recognises the economic case for this but insists support should be conditional on a commitment to learn Welsh, especially in the western regions.
Dyfodol also reaffirms its support for
- Establishing Arfor, a public Agency specifically for the West which would combine a sustainable development remit with language planning to grow the Welsh language
- Implementing the recommendation of the Seimon Brooks report on holiday homes
Dyfodol i’r Iaith has expressed grave reservations about another plan to develop a substantial holiday village in the north west. The organisation believes that the new proposal earmarked for the old Octel site near Amlwch constitutes not only a threat to the Welsh language, but also to the viability and diversity of the local economy.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:
“We would ask Ynys Môn Council to be very wary of this application and seriously consider the priorities of the community and the Welsh language. The main problem regarding such developments, as we see it, is the lack of benefit they bring to the local community.
Such tourism ventures should be in local hands and the profits diversified to help create a robust and varied local economy. If the sector is carefully developed, then ultimately that which we oppose – an economy that is over-dependent on tourism – can be avoided.
Unfortunately this plan, which syphons profit away from the community,would appear to be culturally harmful and exploitative of the wider local economy. “