Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 14:17 UK

Assembly translation row deepens

AMs in the assembly chamber

The body which monitors official use of the Welsh language has warned it may take tough action over plans to scrap some translation of assembly speeches.

The Welsh Language Board has set a 22 September deadline for the Assembly Commission to answer key questions.

The board is questioning the level of consultation undertaken by the Assembly Commission - which manages the assembly - before the decision was taken.

But the commission has already warned the board has no power to investigate.

The commission has said scrapping translation of speeches in the full assembly from English into Welsh will save £250,000 a year.

The proposals from the commission earlier in the summer are in line with existing arrangements for assembly committees.

The board says it has refused the request to change the wording of the assembly's own Welsh language scheme.

A spokesperson for the board said section 4.8 of the scheme committed all plenary meetings of the assembly to be fully bilingual.

"The board believes that the wording is clear," said the spokesperson.

"The board states that the assembly's Welsh language scheme is a statutory scheme, adopted by both the commission and by the assembly."

The board says it wants answers to its questions by 22 September or it will consider what next steps to take.

These questions include whether members of the commission and Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis Thomas had consulted externally and internally before making the decision.

The board also wants an explanation of the commission's decision.

In an earlier letter to Lord Elis-Thomas, language board chief executive Meirion Prys Jones suggested the board could investigate the decision under a section of the 1993 Welsh Language Act which allows it to examine language schemes which have been breached.

But the commission has said the board did not have the power to investigate because the language scheme was the responsibility of the assembly.

A spokesperson for the assembly said: "We can confirm that we have received a letter from the Welsh Language Board regarding the translation of the record of proceedings and will continue to discuss related matters with the Board, including the most effective ways the commission can continue to use and promote the Welsh language."



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