Responding to the latest Census data on Welsh language skills, which shows a decrease in the number of people reporting to be able to speak Welsh, driven largely by a fall among children and young people, Heledd Fychan MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for children, young people and the Welsh Language, said:
“This data shows that it’s not enough to simply set a target – it needs to be backed up by action. The reality is we’re now further away from Labour’s goal of one million speakers by 2050 than we were ten years ago.
“While it’s encouraging to see an increase in the number of young adults reporting being able to speak Welsh, it’s extremely concerning to see such a fall in the number of children. This shows how critical the role of teachers with Welsh language abilities is, as well as investment in Welsh medium schools – we don’t have enough of either, so if Welsh Government are serious about reaching their target, they must ensure further investment in these areas.
“The decrease in adults being able to speak Welsh in those areas of Wales which have also seen a large rise in second homes shows the impact on the language when communities are torn apart in this way.
“Plaid Cymru has long campaigned to ensure that access to learning and using Welsh is available to everyone in Wales and it is seriously concerning to see this demise in Welsh speakers under Labour’s watch. Cymraeg belongs to everyone in Wales, but we need more than warm words to ensure our language survives – we need radical action.”