|The consultation on merging the Welsh Language Board with the Welsh Assembly Government came to an end this week and Culture Minister Alun Pugh said: "We are committed as a Government to helping create a bilingual Wales."
The consultation outlined the Assembly Government's proposals for the detailed arrangements for the merger and transfer of the functions of the Welsh Language Board. The merger will mainstream the Welsh language more effectively across Government portfolios and provide clearer lines of democratic accountability.
Alun Pugh said: "We are committed as a Government to helping create a bilingual Wales in the long term. We have received a significant number of written responses, email responses and I have had numerous meetings, including public meetings in all corners of Wales as part of the consultation process.
"The principle of the merger did not form a part of this consultation. That decision has been made. This Government is determined to improve democratic accountability, transforming Wales from a nation run by quangos to a nation run by elected representatives.
"But I have said repeatedly that I am open minded about the detail of the policy and that we are interested in hearing views and getting feedback on the proposals outlined in the document. I am convinced that bringing in the Welsh Language Board into the very heart of Government will create a language powerhouse which will make it far easier to integrate Welsh language consideration into all Assembly Government policies than a body outside of Government can.
"This is not the end of the process of merging the Welsh Language Board with Government. We will be considering the responses we have received, and will be publishing them on the website. Assembly members will get the opportunity to debate in Culture Committee and in Plenary before the summer recess.
"We will then consult this Summer on the draft order to transfer functions and before Christmas there will be committee stages before the merger legislation is debated in Plenary.
"Officials from the Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Language Board will be working together on the detail and implementation as well."