HC Deb 03 July 1978 vol 953 cc8-9
5. Mr. Gwynfor Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he has taken actively to promote widespread public discussion on the recommendations in the report "Dyfodol I'r laith Gymraeg—A Future for the Welsh Language"; if he will call regional conferences to discuss the recommendations; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Morris

The report has been given wide publicity and follow-up comment in newspapers and on radio and television. Written statements from interested bodies and individuals will be welcomed by my Department. I do not think that another round of conferences would carry matters further. It could only duplicate much of the useful work already carried out by the Council for the Welsh Language.

Mr. Evans

Does the Secretary of State appreciate the desperate need for the establishment of the permanent body which was recommended by the Council for the Welsh Language in view of the critical position of the Welsh Language? In particular, will he ensure that there is a speedy start on the recommendations affecting publicity, education for children under five years of age, television programmes for children and the use of the fourth channel in Wales for showing mainly Welsh language programmes?

Mr. Morris

Having received the report of the council, I believe that it is right to await the reactions of a host of interested bodies throughout Wales. We should wait to see what people have to say. Broadcasting is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. He proposes to publish a White Paper on this. Dealing with aid for the Welsh language generally, I believe that this Government can hold their head high. Compared with a total of about £24,000 in 1973–74, this year—when we include the grant to the National Eisteddfod—we shall have gone over the £500,000 mark. This includes grants for Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the playgroups and also support for Welsh books. That is the significance of the support for the coming year.