HC Deb 13 May 1996 vol 277 c630
16. Mr. Rathbone

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what priority he attaches to English as a language when co-ordinating Government policies. [27681]

The Deputy Prime Minister

The Government attach great importance to the use of clear and appropriate language in all areas of their work.

Mr. Rathbone

Although this question does not in any way point to this Chamber, it is notable that the Government are reducing expenditure on the British Council, the great spreader and supporter of the English language throughout the world. Would the Government reconsider the reduction?

The Deputy Prime Minister

I share my hon. Friend's views about the importance of the British Council's work, but the allocation of funding responsibilities must remain a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Flynn

Should not the Procedure Committee be congratulated on recommending that a policy that has applied since 1536 be reversed so that for the first time in 460 years a language other than English is to be used in conducting the business of the House? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that he will do his best to speed up the recommendation that both the beautiful languages of Wales—Welsh and English—should be used in the proceedings of the only parliament that Wales has?

The Deputy Prime Minister

It sounds as though this is another example of precipitate action. The hon. Gentleman has raised an interesting point and I shall give it a great deal of attention later today.

Forward to