THE High Court has ruled in favour of the Welsh language commissioner after a state-owned savings bank scrapped its Welsh language policy.

In a ruling published online yesterday from a hearing in February, Mr Justice Hickinbottom and His Honour Judge Milwyn Jarman QC, sitting as a judge of the High Court, ruled savings firm NS&I’s decision to revoke its Welsh language scheme in April last year was unlawful.

The bank has more than £100 billion invested by over 25 million customers, with 1.5 million living in Wales.

NS&I adopted a Welsh language scheme in 1998, which was replaced in July 2007, and said the bank would support the use of Welsh where possible help the public in Wales use Welsh as part of their day-to-day lives.

But after 14 years, NS&I had just 107 customers who contacted it in Welsh, representing 0.007 per cent of the 1,549,577 Welsh customers, and 0.06 per cent of Welsh deposits.

“At an annual cost of £899 per Welsh speaking NS&I customer, or an additional cost of 3.78 per cent for every pound of their deposits, our Welsh language scheme is not an effective use of public funds,” its chief executive, Jane Platt, wrote to the Welsh language commissioner in February, last year.

The commissioner rejected this, filing for judicial review in July 2013.

The High Court’s ruling left the scheme in place, unless NS&I change it “after a process which is lawful within the terms of this judgment”.