§ 12. Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress has been made with regard to responding to the Welsh Language Board's proposal for a new Welsh Language Act; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir Wyn Roberts
Consultations are continuing within Government on the Welsh Language Board's proposals. The proposals are wide ranging and have implications for all branches of the public sector in Wales. My right hon. Friend is anxious that these consultations should be completed as soon as possible so that he can announce a decision. Whatever is decided in relation to legislation will not lessen the need to pursue a wide range of policies in support of the language. I am happy to announce that direct grant support for the language next year will be £7.6 million, a 12 per cent. increase on provision in the current year.
§ Mr. Wigley
Does not the Minister realise that consultation on a new Welsh Language Act started five years ago last month and that for over five years we have been waiting for some sign of life from the Welsh Office? Is that an indication of the speed at which the Welsh Office usually moves? Is that the dynamic David and the 13 wonderful Wyn making progress on an issue, or is it another example of the Government's dithering on an important issue for Wales?
§ Sir Wyn Roberts
The hon. Gentleman is misleading himself as well as the House and the country. We have had these proposals in our hands only from the beginning of this year. The Welsh Language Board took a considerable time to work out its proposals and gave them to us at the beginning of the year. Consultations are continuing in government and within the past fortnight there has been an important meeting involving a member of the board, Mr. Winston Roddick, and representatives of the Lord Chancellor's Department.