HC Deb 20 January 1997 vol 288 c605
3. Sir Wyn Roberts

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on progress with the implementation of the Welsh Language Act 1993. [9909]

Mr. Hague

Excellent progress has been made in the three years since the Act became law. The Welsh Language Board has approved the Welsh language schemes of 21 public sector bodies and been active and successful in encouraging greater use of the language in the private and voluntary sectors. Late last year, the board published its "Strategy for the Welsh Language" which sets out clear priorities to build on recent advances and ensure that the language continues to prosper.

Sir Wyn Roberts

May I congratulate my right hon. Friend on emulating that eximious performance on Saturday, which we can no longer mention? His has been the first Government Department to produce an acceptable—indeed, splendid—scheme under the Welsh Language Act, and it has encouraged other Government Departments and public bodies in Wales to produce similar schemes, which will be of great benefit to the language. However, will my right hon. Friend reassure me that all that has been achieved at no unreasonable or inordinate cost?

Mr. Hague

I thank my right hon. Friend for making that point. The Welsh Office scheme was approved by the Welsh Language Board last November. It took effect last week, and it has certainly been implemented without inordinate or significant cost. It is a sign of the tremendous commitment to the Welsh language of the present Government, who have done more for the Welsh language than any previous Government, largely thanks to the efforts of my right hon. Friend. We shall continue with our policies to secure the place of the Welsh language, not only in this country's heritage and culture, but in its future as well.