HC Deb 10 May 1976 vol 911 cc5-6
4. Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take steps to implement the recommendations of the Hughes Parry Report on the Welsh language with regard to its recommendations for the activities of local authorities.

Mr. John Morris

It is for local authorities to act on those recommendations which apply to them. It has been the consistent policy of successive Governments, and it is most certainly my policy, to encourage authorities to give a proper place to the Welsh language in their activities.

Mr. Wigley

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that certain councils, such as the Rhymney Valley Council and the Taff-Ely Council, have not only failed to respond in the language of correspondents but have refused to accept letters in the Welsh language? In these circumstances, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman send a circular to all councils in Wales drawing to their attention the recommendations of the Hughes Parry Report, if he cannot go further and direct them to abide by the spirit of the report?

Mr. Morris

The hon. Gentleman may know that Welsh Office Circular No. 82 was issued in 1969 by my predecessor, now Mr. Speaker, which made the position quite clear and left no doubt about one's hopes for what local authorities would do. It is a matter for them, after all. I hope that the observations that have been made today, with my answers, will be sufficient for local authorities and will indicate to them my hopes as regards their practice.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman recognise that in all parts of the House there is concern at the refusal of local authorities to accept letters in the Welsh language from Welshmen? Of course, it is a matter for the local authorities, but, as Members of Parliament, we always accept letters in the language in which they are written, and this must be a matter of real concern to all Welshmen.

Mr. Morris

I have made my position quite clear, as does the circular issued by the Welsh Office in 1969. I have nothing to add.