Llanelli has a proud history as a bilingual town. For most of us that refers to English and Welsh. Over the last couple years or so Polish has become more and more visible and I have spoken Italian in my door-to-door visiting.
However, most of us will know people who are more comfortable in Welsh than in English. The growth in Welsh education shows that there is a confidence in the future of the language. I produce as much material as possible in English and in Welsh.
That is why I was so pleased when, before Christmas, the Welsh Assembly passed the first major piece of legislation on the Welsh language for almost twenty years, fulfilling a Welsh Labour pledge to the people of Wales.
This is what it does. It
- Confirms the official status of the Welsh language.
- Creates a new system of placing duties on bodies to provide services through the medium of Welsh.
- Creates a Welsh Language Commissioner with strong enforcement powers to protect the rights of Welsh speakers to access services through the medium of Welsh
- Establishes a Welsh Language Tribunal.
- Gives individuals and bodies the right to appeal decisions made in relation to the provision of services through the medium of Welsh.
- Creates a Welsh Language Partnership Council to advise Government on its strategy in relation to the Welsh language.
- Allows for an official investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner of instances where there is an attempt to interfere with the freedom of Welsh speakers to use the language with one another.
Newyddion da! Good news, indeed!