WALES: Time for a Fully Bilingual Wales, Say Conservatives; 'Shake Up Language Policy'

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Byline: By ROLAND HUGHES

CONSERVATIVES yesterday called for a shake-up ofWelsh language policy in a bid to create a fully bilingual Wales.

Wales suffers from its language not being in enshrined in law, and English practically being its official language, the Welsh Conservatives claimed yesterday.

To stop the situation worsening, vital measures were needed to encourage more people to speakWelsh, it was claimed.

And among the party's suggested measures were strengthening Welsh's status as an official language, and giving the country its own independent language commissioner.

The party also reiterated its calls for a reviewof the Welsh Language Act to see it reach its full potential, and establish a fully bilingual Wales.

Lisa Francis AM, the Welsh Tories' spokeswoman on language, said: "As it stands, English is the de facto official language of Wales. Conservativeswant to give Welsh that same status, enshrined in law.

"If we are seeking to reviewexisting legislation, then giving Welsh official language status would be the starting point for strengthening both the law and future of the language.

"At present, the status of Welsh in the eyes of the law remains vague and limited.

"The way to get the Welsh language to thrive is through 75% education and 25% legislation. …