Wales politics

Up to five staff work on Welsh language rules, say ministers

Eluned Morgan
Image caption Eluned Morgan told AMs "loads" of staff worked on Welsh language standards

Up to five members of staff work on Welsh language regulations, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

When asked by AMs in January how many officials were on the task, Welsh Language Minister Eluned Morgan said: "Oh my god, loads."

Ms Morgan added: "I've met quite a few of them who know their onions".

Plaid Cymru AM Sian Gwenllian said ministers' latest response was "simply not good enough", and she would write to them again asking for "clarity".

In January, at a committee hearing, Ms Morgan said staffing was a matter for Permanent Secretary Dame Shan Morgan, the Welsh Government's most senior civil servant.

Three months later, following further questions, Dame Shan wrote to Ms Gwenllian saying: "I am content that there are sufficient policy officials within the division to take this work forward in line with ministerial priorities."

Ms Gwenllian accused the Welsh Government of a lack of transparency.

Following further questions in the Senedd, Leader of the House Julie James has confirmed that 40 members of staff work in the Welsh language division with five splitting their time between the Welsh Language Bill and Welsh Language Standards, depending on workload.

Image caption Sian Gwenllian says getting "basic information from the Labour Welsh Government is painfully slow"

Ms Gwenllian said: "It is frustrating that the leader of the house has yet again failed to answer a simple question about how many people are currently working on the Welsh Language Standards.

"Despite my original enquiry regarding the number working specifically on the standards, the response referred to the number working on the Welsh Language Bill and the Welsh Language Standards.

"We therefore cannot know how many of those five individuals are just working on the standards. In the same vein, if all five do so , what percentage of their work focuses on the standards?

"The process of obtaining basic information from the Labour Welsh Government is painfully slow. It is typical of their lack of transparency and fear of scrutiny.

"I will be writing again to the leader of the house asking for clarity as soon as possible. This is simply not good enough."

A spokeswoman for the permanent secretary said: "The legislation branch of the Welsh Language Division work on both the Welsh Language Bill and Welsh Language Standards as workload dictates.

"The amount of time dedicated to the Bill and the standards respectively fluctuates depending on current priorities and work is shared across the team."

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