'Vision' for Welsh language later in spring, says Jones

Cymraeg-Welsh sign Ministers say they are committed to promoting the language in communities across Wales

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A new "vision" for the Welsh language will be set out later in the spring, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

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.

Plaid Cymru Welsh language spokesman Simon Thomas said he had "no questions as there was no statement" and he was "deeply disappointed" by the "very insignificant" message from Mr Jones.

One report considered the work of Mentrau Iaith, which is a group of 22 bodies promoting the use of Welsh in communities across Wales, the Aman Tawe Language Promotion Scheme and also Language Action Plans.

It called for major changes to the way the Mentrau Iaith operate, in terms of how the organisations are funded and coordinated, how they interact with other organisations and the guidance they receive.

The other report, the Welsh Speaking Communities Task and Finish Group, investigated how to increase the number of Welsh speaking communities.

Promoting Welsh

Mr Jones said work would begin now on responding to issues raised by the reviews, including encouraging better planning by Mentrau Iaith and ensuring a more consistent approach to promoting the language.

"We remain committed to promoting the use of the Welsh language in communities across Wales and these reports were commissioned to help us understand how best to do this," he said.

"We know that organisations, such as the Mentrau Iaith, are a powerful and valuable tool in promoting the language and we want to ensure that this continues into the future, while at the same time strengthening the impact and influence they have.

"We will also look at the important issues raised by the Welsh Speaking Communities Group report, which focuses on education and the economy - key factors in the promotion of the language.

"We have to make sure that we revitalise these rural communities, making them social and economic hubs, with attractive opportunities that encourage young people to stay in the area."

He added that the statement later in the spring would "set out our vision for the language and provide a clear basis for our work over the next three years".

'Tinkering'

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) said the response of ministers to the "state of Welsh language communities" was "a complete farce".

The group's chair, Robin Farrar, said: "They continue to delay and refuse to make important changes.

"They have chosen to ignore or reject any recommendations that would make a real difference - tinkering with the Mentrau Iaith's administrative arrangements will not ensure growth for the Welsh language at grassroots level."

"Carwyn Jones continues to delay, and ignore the fundamental changes needed - it's high time he took the Welsh language seriously," Mr Farrar added.

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