The Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced plans to strengthen the Welsh language over the next two years.
A total of 1.6 million pounds is to be spent on measures to promote and maintain the language, including support for Welsh language businesses and a pilot scheme to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) provide services in Welsh.
The plans come after analysis from the last census, where figures showed the number of Welsh speakers in Wales has fallen dramatically since 2001.
Mr Jones assured assembly members that the plans are the basis for other schemes and initiatives across Wales in the near future.
The plans however have been met with a mixed response. Welsh language campaigners and political opponents claim the new strategy lacks substance. Numerous Welsh language campaigners have been camped outside the Senedd building in Cardiff since Sunday, urging assembly members to acknowledge the ‘Welsh language crisis’.
Robin Farrar from Cymdeithas yr Iaith is dissatisfied with Jones’ statement: “We’re disappointed with what was a weak statement from Carwyn Jones and a very late statement too. We’ve been waiting 18 months since the census results came out.”
He added “Finally he’s talking about all the right things but is he actually doing anything? Not yet.”
Mr Jones maintains confidence in the plans, looking ahead to Welsh as an accessible language for all. “What I want to do is to make sure that people who do speak Welsh are confident enough to use it and to make it as easy as possible that those who want to lean Welsh are able to do so.”
Adding – “Wherever you live in Wales, regardless of whether you speak it or not, it belongs to you. It belongs to our common heritage and history in Wales and it’s important that the one thing that makes Wales very different is able to thrive in the future.”
Ahead of the release of the final published policy statement next month, The Welsh Government is encouraging people to get in touch with their views about the plans.