ARGUS COMMENT: Let’s be sensible over Welsh
Updated 3:00pm Thursday 17th April 2014 in News
THE WELSH Language Act is important for Wales as a whole in terms of protecting and promoting the language.
However, it does need to be implemented sensibly, especially in certain parts of the country.
We would argue that the further south east you travel in Wales, the more there is an argument for sensitive rather than draconian implementation of the law.
When we have the public sector, particularly local councils, under huge financial pressure, would we really want to see an authority like Newport having to provide all telephone services in both Welsh and English?
A report, in response to the Welsh Language Commissioner's investigation into proposed standards for the language in councils, says it would be impossible for such services to be delivered equally in Welsh and English in Newport.
We think that is entirely reasonable.
This is partly because of the current standards of Welsh language skills among staff, meaning significant investment would be needed if the target is enforced.
The council report argues that some of the standards proposed may be too stringent for local authorities in this corner of Wales.
And we have to agree.
The equal use of Welsh and English in the public sector in Wales may well be a laudable aim, but we would argue it is not something which is achievable in the current economic climate and it is not something which should leave councils fearing a fine or other punishment if it is unattainable.
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