Today, Sian Gwenllian AM, Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Welsh Language, launches a comprehensive strategic paper on how to create a million Welsh speakers by 2050. Click here to read it.
The document, commissioned by Plaid Cymru and drawn up by IAITH: The Language Planning Centre, investigates the challenge which the Labour Welsh Government has set itself of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050, by introducing a host of recommendations as to the steps necessary to achieve this.
Speaking before launching the paper "Cyrraedd y Miliwn", Sian Gwenllian AC stated that the document’s main purpose was to use IAITH’s specialist expertise to facilitate the Government’s task of achieving the challenging aim of increasing the number of Welsh speakers, and expressed her hope that the work would be approved by the Labour Minister, Welsh language bodies, and the wider population.
Among the document’s main recommendations are growing the Welsh-medium education and childcare sectors, ensuring that language considerations are an integral part of economic planning as part of maintaining current support systems, strengthening the role of the Welsh Language Commissioner in regulating and promoting the language, and establishing a new arm’s-length agency to promote the language in the areas of education, community and the economy.
Sian Gwenllian AM said:
"The Labour Welsh Government’s aim of achieving a million Welsh speakers by 2050 is ambitious, and one with which Plaid Cymru agrees.
"However, over six months have passed since this objective was announced, and we have had very few details so far as to how the Government intends to reach the target.
"Plaid Cymru has commissioned its own independent strategic paper to trigger the process of taking positive, practical steps to create over 400,000 new Welsh speakers over the next three decades.
"Cyrraedd y Miliwn' is a comprehensive document which puts forward several recommendations for drawing up an effective strategy. As it states clearly, core to the strategy is the creation of the appropriate economic conditions for the language to flourish.
"It is increasingly apparent that the challenge to the language stands with the challenge of defeating poverty and ensuring economic robustness in our communities all over the nation. It’s time the Labour Government stops ignoring the fact that low wages and lack of opportunity are threatening the strongholds of the language.
"Plaid Cymru believes that a strong all-Wales economy is key to the future of the language and it is encouraging to see some of these recommendations confirming that opinion.
"First and foremost, we must ensure that people of all ages have the necessary conditions and resources to learn and use the language in education, in employment and in everyday life.
"I am hopeful that this document will be an incentive for the Government to stop talking about creating a million Welsh speakers, and to start on the challenging but essential task of achieving this."