Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
This Statement provides an update on the work of the Welsh Language and Economic Development Task and Finish Group. The Group has concluded its work and has provided a report containing its recommendations.
The report contains 27 recommendations and it reinforces that the Welsh language is integral in creating a stable and favourable business environment, the importance of promoting skills and investing in economic infrastructure including transport and information technology. The recommendations touch on several areas of ministerial and organisational responsibility.
I established the Welsh Language Task and Finish Group to explore the relationship between the Welsh Language and Economic Development and to recommend ways to develop practical approaches to foster a positive relationship. The Group was asked to consider economic development and Welsh language policy options that would encourage and support jobs, economic growth and increase the use of the Welsh language. It was also asked to build upon existing good practice to produce recommendations that were realistic, practical and achievable.
The Group was chaired by Elin Rhys Managing Director, Telesgop, supported by Elin Pinnell, Partner, Capital Law, Professor Dylan Jones Evans, University of the West of England, Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Aberystwyth University, Dr Martin Rhisiart, University of South Wales and Alun Shurmer, Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water. I thank them all for their contributions and input.
The Task and Finish Group held oral evidence sessions, issued an open call for evidence and undertook interviews with local businesses to inform the development of its report and recommendations.
Work will now begin to assess the potential impacts and costs of the recommendations. The report will be made available on the Welsh Government website for comment.
In terms of next steps, some of the recommendations cut across a number of ministerial portfolios and I have written to Cabinet colleagues.
Some of the recommendations relate to an area based approach and I will be writing to the Enterprise Zone and City Region Chairs to draw their attention to the report. I will also write to the Teifi Valley Local Growth Zone asking them to comment on the findings.
This work has generated much interest among Assembly Members and I would therefore be grateful if you could consider the implications and respond to me by Wednesday 16 April via WelshLangEconDev@wales.gsi.gov.uk noting that responses may be published.
All comments and contributions will be taken into account in the Welsh Government response, which I intend to issue ahead of Summer Recess.