Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Welsh Assembly

AMs voted in favour of the proposed Welsh language measure on 7 December 2010.

Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones AM described it as "a historic day for the Welsh language" as the assembly government passed its first piece of legislation on the Welsh language.

"The Welsh language is a source of pride for the country and is cherished by Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers alike," according to the minister.

He continued: "That is why this government wishes so see the Welsh language thrive and play a real part in the day-to-day lives of those who wish to use it."

The new measure aims to strengthen the position of the Welsh language and will confirm the official status of the language.

A system will be created to place duties on bodies to provide services through the medium of Welsh and should they fail to meet the delivery standards, could face fines of up to £5,000.

Liberal Democrat AM Jenny Randerson argued that that the measure did not go far enough to enforce the rules as it lists exceptions which could create many grey areas.

The Cardiff Central AM suggested an amendment to the rule which was rejected following a vote by the AMs in the chamber.

A new Welsh Language Commissioner will be appointed as part of the measure to replace the Welsh Language Board.

Paul Davies, Conservative AM for Preseli Penfro, argued that the appointment should not be made by the first minister as the commissioner should be independent from the assembly.

The recommendation was rejected however and the heritage minister gave his assurance that the appointment process will be transparent and will follow guidelines outlined by the government.

The opposition parties agreed with the general thrust of the measure but expressed disappointed as to its scope.

The measure will become legislation in Wales after receiving royal assent.


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