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Written Statement - A White Paper on proposals for a new Welsh language bill

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The Welsh Government has made a commitment to amend the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.
Alun Davies, Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language

A week ago, I published Cymraeg 2050, the Welsh Government's strategy for the Welsh language and the steps we wish to take to achieve our ambition of a million Welsh speakers by 2050. The Welsh Government is contributing £2m to give new focus to promoting the language and a development board chaired by Rhian Huws Williams has been established to develop a programme of work.

In addition, we are conducting reviews of Welsh in Education Strategic Plans and the responsibilities and activities of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. These reviews will report shortly. In addition, I now intend to put forward proposals for a new Welsh language bill to ensure that the primary legislation is suitable and appropriate to realise our ambitions.

I will be publishing a white paper in the National Eisteddfod which will make firm proposals to address these issues, that is, to ensure leadership and robust arrangements for promoting and facilitating the language and to make improvements to the Standards regime. The consultation will run for 12 weeks until the end of October. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the content of the white paper in the Senedd when we reconvene in September. My intention is to seek the widest possible support for my proposals.

Following that, I will be laying Standards regulations for health bodies before the end of the year. It is important that the rolling programme of making standards continues and that Assembly Members make a decision on the regulations in the light of our proposals for the future.

Following the consultation on the white paper, I expect to issue a report at the beginning of 2018 outlining how we will take forward the legislation.