I AM writing regarding the recent editorial about new Welsh language standards.

As chair of voluntary organisation Menter Iaith Casnewydd (Newport Language Initiative) working with Newport’s Welsh speaking community, I am delighted to be confirm that Welsh is very much alive in Gwent, and in fact, is growing steadily.

The official figures from the Office of National Statistics show there are nearly 55,000 Welsh speakers in Gwent (9.9% of the population), with 78000 (14%) having Welsh skills of some description. The numbers for Newport specifically are 13,002 Welsh speakers, with 18,308 with Welsh skills.

The issues raised by the proposed language standards are not some bolt from the blue: although the standards are a new thing, the requirements within them are not new at all. Providing services in Welsh is a long-standing and permanent need, dating back over 20 years to the Welsh Language Act 1993, and Newport City Council has been working towards delivering them for years, so why on earth are they still failing in their duty? The Welsh language has an important role in Newport’s past, present and future. Don’t our children deserve the same advantages as those of Cardiff and the rest of Wales?

The very reason it’s an issue now is that the council has persisted in neglecting even to give proper consideration to the language. Steve Blundell Chair Menter Iaith Casnewydd