The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ is to consider tomorrow a “Draft Welsh Language Promotion Strategy” which aims to increase the number of people who speak Welsh in Penarth and in the rest of the Vale.
The council is having to comply with a Welsh Assembly Labour Government diktat which requires every local authority in Wales to comply with a 172-point list setting out what they will do to increase the use of Welsh in their respective areas.
The Welsh Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones – who is himself a member of the Gorsedd – has set a target of there being 1,000,000 (one million) Welsh speakers in Wales by the year 2050 – a target which has already been ridiculed by the Welsh nationalist party – Plaid Cymru – as “another superficial stunt”.
The 2011 UK Census actually reported a drop in the number of Welsh speakers from 582,000 in 2001 to 562,000, about one in five of the population.
The number of Welsh speakers in Penarth – according to the UK Census – dropped from 11.4% in 2001 to 11.2% in 2011. In Penarth a total of 2,226 people can speak Welsh . Most of those are schoolchildren aged between 10 and 14 reflecting what the strategy document calls “the enormous influence of the education system, in particular the growth of Welsh-medium schools in recent years”.
The strategy document is also to set a “target for increasing or maintaining the percentage of Welsh speakers” – which will be reviewed every 5 years.
There is to be a six-week period of “public consultation” on the strategy and the final implementation of the scheme is to be decided by the Vale Council by March 31st 2017
The areas covered in the strategy include:-
- Welsh medium education
- Language transmission in the home
- Welsh for adults
- Children, young people and families
- Community and leisure activities
- Welsh in the workplace.
The council is also to consider increasing the increasing the number of Vale Council Welsh-speaking staff and will discuss how it will provide “simultaneous translation services” for people who wish to follow council and committee meetings in Welsh. [ PDN Note: So far – the council admits – there has not been a single request from any member of the public for simultaneous translation of council proceedings] .
Meanwhile the pupil capacity of Welsh-medium primary schools is to be increased from the current figure 1,693 to 2,100 places by 2017.