Dyfodol i’r Iaith welcomes the discussions currently taking place between Labour and Plaid Cymru and hopes that this will provide an opportunity to reset the agenda in terms of policies to support the Welsh language.
Heini Gruffudd, the organisation’s Chair said:
“We will be encouraging both parties to regard these discussions as an opportunity to consider the true needs of the Welsh language in order to meet the target of creating a million Welsh speakers.”
Among their priorities, the organisation calls upon both parties to:
- Elevate the status of the Welsh Language Division within Government
- Extend Welsh language medium education and introduce an ambitious Welsh language training programme for education workers
- Draw up a Planning policy which protects the language and addresses the housing crisis
- Act urgently to implement the recommendations of Dr Simon Brooks’s report on
- Develop the Arfor scheme which aims to promote Welsh and develop the economy of the language’s heartlands
- Extend the use of the Welsh language within the workplace
- Strengthen the language’s status within the private sector
And finally, and with no cost implications at all –
- Increase the use of the Welsh language within the Senedd, including leaders and ministers.
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