Bid to 'save Welsh language' backed by council board

Carmarthenshire council headquarters The board heard concerns about creating a bilingual workplace at the council

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A report with more than 70 recommendations to "save the Welsh language" in Carmarthenshire has been backed by the county council's executive board.

It voted to accept the findings by a cross-party committee of councillors.

The Welsh Language Census Working Group was established after the 2011 census showed a 6% drop in Welsh speakers.

It also revealed the county's Welsh speakers had fallen under half its population for the first time.

Carmarthenshire saw the greatest reduction in percentage points in the number of Welsh speakers across Wales - from 50.3% in 2001 to 43.9% in 2011,

One member of the Executive Board, Councillor Meryl Gravell, raised concerns about proposals to create a bilingual workplace in the council with a view to administering mainly through the medium of Welsh in the long term.

'Opportunity'

She told the meeting the proposal "frightened her" and that the county had to be "open for business and investment."

She added that the authority had a duty to attract the best staff.

The chair of the working group, Cefin Campbell, said councillors had "one opportunity to save the Welsh language in the county... and that opportunity had come today".

The report will now go before full council and it will also be subject to a public consultation.

Last week, First Minister Carwyn Jones said a new "vision" for the Welsh language will be set out by the Welsh Government later in the spring.

He said the statement would provide a "clear basis" for the next three years of work on strengthening the language.

Mr Jones was giving AMs his response to two independent reports on the issue.

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