Wales

Cardiff Labour politicians blamed over Welsh language 'failings'

Spin the wheel in Welsh
Image caption The drive to almost double the number of Welsh speakers by 2050 was unveiled last year

The Labour-run Welsh Government's goal of having one million Welsh speakers by 2050 is being undermined by the party at a local level in Cardiff, a campaigner has said.

Dr Huw Williams, who is also a member of the party, has made the claim in an article on the Open Democracy website.

He has highlighted issues surrounding the creation of a new Welsh primary for children in Grangetown and Butetown.

But several local Labour politicians have hit back at his comments.

Dr Williams, a Cardiff University lecturer, had a campaign for improved Welsh language primary provision, which saw Ysgol Hamadryad open last September, although it has yet to move to a permanent location.

"After three draining and miserable years of campaigning, we now have a school (although not yet a new building)," he said.

"As a result, I personally have a fairly intricate knowledge of all of the failings of the system - and, it has to be said, the prejudices of elements of the Labour Party - that I feel obliged to draw attention to.

'Shadows'

"For, if the Labour Party are serious about their strategy, and the commitment to a million Welsh speakers, these failings must be addressed."

The drive to almost double the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050 was unveiled at last year's National Eisteddfod.

In his essay, Dr Williams claimed local MP Stephen Doughty "did nothing more than wash his hands of the issue...pleading the case that this was a devolved matter" for a Welsh medium school and he said AM Vaughan Gething "drifted into the shadows".

In response, Mr Gething said he had "always been keen to see the expansion of Welsh medium education" in the area and Mr Doughty said he had been "totally supportive".

Other local Labour politicians have also hit back.

Cardiff council Labour leader Phil Bale said: "I think we've been very supportive of the Welsh language here.

'Success'

"We've seen a huge increase in demand, and there's been about 7,000 pupils coming through the Welsh medium school system in the city, which has increased by something like 50% since 2004."

Grangetown Labour councillor Ashley Govier said: "The challenge is land availability. We always wanted to build, and there were practicalities. But it's not a language battle."

Mr Gething said: "There is a clear need that has to be addressed. I made my support for expansion clear to the Cardiff council cabinet member for education at the time.

"I have subsequently met the current cabinet member to discuss taking the school forward.

"I look forward to working with parents, the school and the wider community to help make Ysgol Hamadryad a success."

Mr Doughty said: "I have met with Mr Williams and other campaigners and told him that I was in favour of expanding provision.

"I believe that children in Wales have the right to receive an education in their own language.

"Of course, education is a devolved area and so I referred him to our local assembly member and to councillors who were very supportive."

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