Call to establish new Welsh language department outside Cardiff

Hundreds of extra jobs need moving out of the capital, says Cymdeithas

A new Welsh Government beefed-up department responsible for the language should be established outside Cardiff as part of a wider move to devolve hundreds of jobs outside the capital, say campaigners.  

At the moment, the Welsh Government has a Welsh language Division at its Cathays Park headquarters in Cardiff, which does not have the status of a full department. Cymdeithas yr Iaith argues that this lower status within the civil service means the language has less policy clout than it needs.  

The proposal features in a policy paper due to be discussed at a meeting of the language group in Blaenau Ffestiniog later this month. The paper will call for the devolution of hundreds of jobs by creating and relocating bodies including:    

  •     A new upgraded Welsh language department
  •     A Broadcasting Authority for Wales, Awdurdod Darlledu Cymru
  •     A Welsh Planning Inspectorate
  •     An Economic Development Body; and
  •     A new National Energy Company

The group will also call for the devolution of further civil service jobs in the economy, education and agriculture departments.   

Speaking from Aberystwyth, Jeff Smith, communities spokesperson for Cymdeithas yr Iaith, commented:     

“Moving jobs out of Cardiff is important if we want to have a prosperous and sustainable economy and language right across the country. It’s not balanced at the moment. It’s also clear that the existing Welsh language division inside Government lacks clout – a point raised by many we have consulted. There's also criticism that the Division is too Cardiff-centric in its thinking, which can, and has been, a problem for making policy that’s in the best interests of the language. So, there’s a strong argument for this move. ”  

He added:

“We’re losing about 5,200 Welsh speakers a year through out-migration from Wales. There are a number of factors that impact on the state of the language. It’s clear that emigration, young people in particular leaving their communities to look for work – is one the main challenges.  

“In Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Caerfyrddin over the last decade, 117,000 young people between 15 and 29 have left those council areas, which accounts for 55% of the emigration of every age group. In Ceredigion, 3,670 young people left the county in just a single year, 2015 to 2016 - that’s almost 20 percent of all young people aged 15 to 29 leaving Ceredigion. That’s one of the main reasons why we must concentrate on policies that would create jobs in Welsh language communities and campaign for economic policies that would strengthen the language.”

The jobs proposals will form part of a series of demands in Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s ‘Gwaith i Adfywio Iaith’ (Work to Revitalise a Language) document which will be published in the group’s annual general meeting in Blaenau Ffestiniog on Saturday 13th October.