Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Plaid Cymru debate on the Welsh language

There was widespread agreement in the assembly that more needed to be done to ensure the future prosperity of the Welsh language.

Plaid Cymru were leading a debate on the Welsh language on 9 January 2013.

The debate was a response to the publication of the 2011 census in December 2012.

Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood, who is a Welsh learner, opened the debate in Welsh, and called for action to be taken in order to ensure the future of the language.

"Wales loses 2000 Welsh speakers every year," she said.

The percentage population of Wales that can speak Welsh has fallen from 20.5% to 19% since the last census in 2001.

Figures also show that the number of Welsh speakers fell from 582,000 to 562,000 during the same period.

Ms Wood said she believed that ways of dealing with the problem include ensuring affordable housing is available to young people and attempting to address the inequality that exists between England and Wales.

She said that parts of London were ten times more affluent than parts of Wales, which is "completely unacceptable".

She welcomed the fact that the use of the language has increased in parts of the country where it hasn't been traditionally spoken.

The Liberal Democrats introduced an amendment which regretted the fact that the government had failed to publish a new Technical Advice Note (TAN) 20.

Aled Roberts AM said that the consultation on the new technical advice note was completed in June 2011.

Speaking on behalf of the Conservatives, Paul Davies AM said he believed that it "might" be a good idea for responsibility for broadcasting to be shared between the Welsh and UK governments.

He also said that more should be done to support those who spoke a little Welsh.

Labour AM Mark Drakeford said that even though he was concerned about the language's future, he was heartened after seeing the public presence of the language increasing since his childhood.

Responding to the debate Language Minister Leighton Andrews said he was proud of his achievements in promoting the Welsh language.

He spoke of the part he played in establishing of the language commissioner's office, as well as the success of Welsh medium schools.

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