Saturday, 12 November 2016

Government response to Cornish language petition is "shameful"

The Department for Communities and Local Government yesterday issued its response to the petition, signed by over 10,000 people, to reinstate funding for the Cornish language.

The extremely short statement was as follows and has been widely condemned:

“The Government has provided Cornwall Council with substantial spending power to allocate resources to their local priorities, including the Cornish language.

“The Government has always been clear that its funding of some £650,000 since 2010 to support the development of the Cornish language was time-limited, and that the Council should seek alternative sources in order to place it on a more sustainable basis.

“Cornwall Council has a core spending power of £1.7 billion over four years from which they can allocate the necessary resources to local priorities, including the development the Cornish language, if they wish.”

The response is frankly shameful and it is clear that central government is not being truthful with the people of Cornwall.

It has previously been confirmed that a five year programme of funding was actually in the 2015 “devolution deal” until removed by central government just before the document was finalised. The leader of Cornwall Council, John Pollard, has since told the local media that he had been “reassured” by the DCLG that the removal of funding from the document “was a technical matter” and “that another funding route would be identified.”

A very measured statement has been published by Cllr Loveday Jenkin who, as well as being MK’s Deputy Leader, is the Chairman of Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek.

“The Government statement that the funding for the language over the previous 5 years of between £120,000 and £250,000 a year (total £650,000) was a time-limited commitment is not the understanding of the Cornish language community from either this Government or previous ones. This amount of money has enabled the voluntary sector to develop to meet the increasing demand for Cornish language services across Cornwall. Most of these services are supplied from the voluntary sector so small amounts of public sector funding are very efficiently spent.

“The Cornish language community are aghast at the misunderstanding of the Westminster government in relation to its responsibilities in respect of Cornish under Parts 1 and 2 of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages 2002 and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities 2014.

“Previous discussions with local MPs have emphasised that the respect and promotion of the Cornish language is a UK State responsibility which has not been devolved to Cornwall Council in its entirety. Unless and until it is devolved to a Cornwall wide governing body with sufficient powers to cover the relevant agencies to ensure respect and promotion of the language at all levels of government the Cornish language community consider that the Government is in breach of their responsibilities under these international treaties.”

1 comment:

Nigel Glasson Gregory said...

Isn't it now possible - as the central government has indicated the ball is in the CC's court - for the CC to go ahead and allocate the GBP 150,000 or so required annually on a recurrent basis to fund this useful program? Wouldn't this enable Cornwall to take the matter into its own hands?