The Welsh Language Commissioner welcomes the commitment in the Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru Co-operation Agreement to increase the rights to use Welsh and to take further steps to reach the target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050.
The Co-operation Agreement between the two parties published yesterday (22 November 2021), includes a policy to extend Welsh language standards to more sectors, including public transport, water companies, and other public bodies. There is also a commitment to begin work on implementing standards on housing associations, which will be completed in the Senedd term.
Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts said: 'There is clear evidence that the Welsh language standards have led to improving people's experiences when accessing services. The standards have also led to a situation where employees have more opportunities to use the language in their workplace, where local authorities take ownership of promoting the use of the Welsh language and where there is a duty to consider the language in policy decisions.
'In my manifesto recommendations to the political parties before the Senedd Election, I called for maintaining this momentum to ensure consistency across organisations, and for the Government to resume the process of placing standards at the earliest opportunity and to extend the standards to an increasing number of organisations.
'I welcome the commitment to do this in the Co-operation Agreement, and I look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the work of introducing standards to more sectors begins without delay.'
On 7 December 2021, the Commissioner will host the Welsh Language Rights Day to celebrate and promote Welsh language standards’ contribution to improve the experiences of Welsh speakers.
The Collaboration Agreement also reflects a number of the Commissioner's other manifesto recommendations, including: increasing the proportion of the education workforce able to teach and work through the medium of Welsh; moving schools along the language continuum, ensuring an increase in the proportion of the curriculum taught through the medium of Welsh; increasing the proportion of Welsh-medium apprenticeships and further education; safeguarding and protecting Welsh language place-names and taking action to reduce the amount of houses bought as second or holiday homes.
Aled Roberts added: 'I welcome the fact that these recommendations are reflected in the Co-operation Agreement, and look forward to see the Government introducing policies which will lead to creating the climate to reach a million Welsh speakers and doubling the percentage who use the language on a daily basis.'
Image copyright: Senedd Cymru.