Ydych chi wedi gweld ymateb sarhaus David Davis AS, Ceidwadwr, i’r LCO Iaith? Mae’n gwbl gwbl ofnadwy. Tybed a fyddai David yn cael get-awê gyda dweud pethau fel yma am fesur anableddau neu rhyw leiafrif arall? Dwi ddim yn meddwl.

Annwyl Mr Llwyd

Thank you for your email regarding the Welsh Language LCO.

I am personally against plans to create a new Welsh Language Act, which will include the right to require some private companies to employ Welsh speakers and translators.

We are facing the biggest recession for decades and the last thing we should do is impose a raft of expensive obligations onto companies in Wales or those thinking of coming to Wales. If we do then we could see them relocating across the border or not bothering to come here at all.

If companies wish to offer services in Welsh they should be free to do so but it should be a decision they make for themselves.

The reality is that not enough people speak Welsh fluently for a language scheme to make commercial sense in the private sector. Companies like BT, which offer a Welsh language scheme, say that the number of people using it is actually falling.

There is a statistic that 20 per cent of the population can speak the language but frankly it is bogus. The reality is that 20 per cent can say “Bore da” and count to ten but outside of Carmarthenshire, Anglesey and Gwynedd Welsh speakers are few and far between.

Instead of adopting expensive and tokenistic schemes which compel companies to offer Welsh, we should be doing more to ensure that people who choose to are given the opportunity to learn the language.

If given the green light, the LCO would be detrimental to my constituency for three reasons:

1) Firstly, it would discourage inward investment at a time when many, such as those working for Corus, have lost their jobs.

2) Secondly, the additional costs to utility companies will simply get passed onto customers who will end up paying higher bills.

3) Thirdly, it will discriminate against non-Welsh speakers who will find it harder to get jobs with the companies affected.

The overall effect will be to turn people away from the Welsh language instead of creating the positive attitude towards it which it needs to flourish.

I also shall not hesitate to point out that unlike many of those demanding this measure, I actually speak Welsh with enough fluency to appear on the radio and television on a regular basis. Those who wish to force the language onto private companies would do well to set an example by learning it themselves first.

Finally, a number of people have written to me calling for the LCO to be decided in Cardiff Bay and not in Westminster. My view is that Welsh Members of Parliament have all been elected first past the post by Welsh constituents, usually on a higher turnout than Welsh Assembly Members receive.

The Government of Wales Act makes it clear that responsibility rests with MPs and unless the Welsh Assembly Government holds a referendum, MPs have the legal and moral right to amend or throw out LCOs as and when they feel there is a purpose to do so.

I hope this helps to clarify my position.

Yn gywir

David T C Davies MP
Member for Monmouth

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