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Written Statement - Task & Finish Group on Welsh Language and Economic Development – Progress Update

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

This Statement provides an update on the work of the Task and Finish Group on the Welsh Language and Economic Development following its establishment in December 2012.

Under the guidance of its Chair, Elin Rhys, the group has commenced its work to explore the links between the Welsh Language and Economic Development.  

The Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Strategy gives a commitment to explore the links between the economy and the Welsh language across the board. I have asked the Group to examine how we might identify and develop practical approaches to foster the positive relationship between the Welsh language and economic development.

Within the wider terms of reference, the Group will focus its attention on factors which have specific and direct relevance to economic growth, the provision of jobs, the creation of wealth, and the well-being of the Welsh language.

The Group is able to draw on the wide-range of expertise and experience of its membership, which has been gained both at home and internationally, and includes business, entrepreneurship and public policy.  The Group is also able to draw on its links to other advisory groups notably the Welsh Language Partnership Council, the Review of Welsh Business Access to Private Sector Finance and the City Regions Group.

The first meeting of the Group in January was held in Cardiff, and the Group reviewed outcomes from previous work, including that of the Welsh Government and the Welsh Language Board.

The second meeting was held in Swansea in February and the Group reviewed existing evidence and gaps in relation to the labour market and the Welsh Language. Welsh Government economic development policy, including Enterprise Zones and City Regions were also discussed in relation to their impact on and the opportunities offered to the Welsh language.

At its next meeting, being held this week, the Group will be considering the evidence gathered to date and establishing work-streams to consider specific aspects of the work to be overseen by members. It will also consider the range of businesses from which it intends to take evidence.

In future meetings, drawing upon their expertise and findings, the Group will invite further stakeholders to attend and present their views.  This will enable the Group to draw from the widest possible base of evidence to develop and deliver a strategy for jointly promoting the Welsh language and economic development.

I would be pleased to receive any views from Members on the work that the Group is undertaking and I will ensure that these are shared with the Group.