Mid and West AM Simon Thomas has welcomed business pilot projects for the Teifi Valley announced by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government believes that increasing the use of the Welsh language goes hand in hand with economic development, and their Moving Forward Policy on the Welsh language increases investment of up to £400,000 in specific programmes to support that. This will include pilot projects in the Teifi Valley in order to support businesses that use the Welsh language.

Shadow Education, Skills and the Welsh Language Minister for Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas AM said:

“It is extremely important that the Welsh language has status and a role outside schools therefore to revive the language the focus on the economy is going to be crucial. I welcome the pilot projects for the Teifi Valley.

“The Welsh Language and Economic Development Task and Finish Group chaired by Rhodri Llwyd Morgan recommended the use of growth areas. The group suggested Carmarthen, Aberystwyth and Bangor/Menai as potential growth areas.”

“Somewhere like the Teifi valley would be more like the local growth areas that we have seen in Powys, for example. Plaid Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to explain what actions they are going to take following the recommendations of the Welsh Language and Economic Development Group led by Rhodri Llwyd Morgan.”

Speaking in the Senedd, the First Minister set out the steps the Welsh Government will take to strengthen the language over the next three crucial years. The draft policy statement, Moving Forward, builds on the existing Welsh language strategy.

£400,000 will be invested to maximise the link between the language and the economy.

The funding will be used to develop a pilot project to improve the way businesses provide services through the medium of Welsh in the Teifi Valley, involving Welsh Language Business Support Surgeries and a Welsh Language SME Support Fund. This will form the basis of a wider roll out across Wales. The funding will also go towards research and marketing projects.

£1.2 million will also be invested over the next two years to boost the use of Welsh in the community - £400,000 this year, increasing to £800,000 from 2015-16 onwards.

This includes £750,000 to develop the work of the Mentrau Iaith. A new fund will also be established for projects to promote the use of Welsh in places which are traditionally Welsh speaking or of strategic importance.