COVID-19: Impact on the Welsh language

Published 05/08/2020   |   Last Updated 01/12/2020   |   Reading Time minutes

​This week as the National Eisteddfod takes place online for the first time in its history, the Senedd's Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee is setting out how it is examining the impact of COVID-19 on the Welsh language. The Committee wants to ensure that the reprioritisation of Welsh Government funding will not affect its target of 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.

The Committee is currently examining the response by the Welsh Government and public bodies to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on areas within its remit – such as culture, the arts, historic environment, communications, broadcasting and the media. As part of this work, the Committee is considering the impact of the pandemic on the Welsh Language.

The Committee has already received written evidence from the National Centre for Learning Welsh, Urdd Gobaith Cymru and the Welsh Language Commissioner.

In June, Helen Mary Jones MS, Chair of the Committee, wrote to the Welsh Government to clarify the funding allocations for support for the Welsh Language in the Government's First Supplementary Budget 2020-21, to ensure the short term reprioritisation of funding would not affect long term ambitions to deliver 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Helen Mary Jones MS, Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee:

"We have seen this pandemic affecting every aspect of our nation's life – and that includes opportunities to learn, work and socialise in Welsh – for people of all ages.

"Our committee wants to know how much of an impact Covid has had on the Welsh language during the past few months and how that might affect efforts to reach the government's target of 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.

"The summer usually sees people across Wales come together to enjoy a week of the best of Welsh language culture at the National Eisteddfod – it's also a valuable opportunity for those learning to use their Welsh. We'll therefore be looking at the impact on the Eisteddfod and this year's necessary shift to an online festival."

In addition to inviting views in writing, the Committee will also be gathering oral evidence from September. This will also give a fuller picture of the impact of the outbreak on summer events such as the National Eisteddfod.