Wales politics

'Complicated' Welsh language law to be reviewed

Alun Davies
Image caption Alun Davies says it is "right and proper" to debate how the law is working

A law giving people rights to access services in Welsh is "too complicated" and will be reviewed, Welsh language minister Alun Davies told BBC Wales.

The Welsh language standards came into force in 2016, requiring councils, national parks and the Welsh Government to provide some services bilingually.

The review was welcomed by Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws.

But she said budget cuts had been a blow to her work promoting the language, and had "broken her heart".

The language standards include placing a duty on bodies to make it clear that they welcome correspondence with the public in Welsh and giving the language priority on bilingual signs.

Many bodies have complained about the cost and complexity of the regulations.

Mr Davies told the Newyddion 9 programme: "I think we always need to review how policy is being implemented - is it delivering its ambition?

"I hope in the next few months to issue a white paper which will review the issue of Welsh language standards as part of a wider review of Welsh language policy.

"When I look at the standards I can see they are having an impact within public bodies that deliver services in Welsh but I also see complications.

"They can be too complicated at times, both the process of designing and implementing."

Creating the standards became the responsibility of the Welsh Government in 2014 after an initial attempt by Ms Huws was heavily criticised.

The then language minister Leighton Andrews said her recommendations had been too complicated and the impact on the organisations involved had not been considered sufficiently.

On Thursday, Ms Huws said both she and the minister agreed they were working with "cumbersome" legislation.

"It focuses on process rather than outcomes and I believe now is the right time to review."

She added: "It is fair to say that the cuts we have faced over the last three years have not helped in terms of our work in promoting the language.

"It has been a blow and has broken my heart."

The language commissioner's budget has fallen by a quarter in money terms since 2013, to just over £3m.

The reduction is around 32% after inflation is taken into account.

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