The Scottish Government has an ambitious and wide-ranging set of commitments to the Gaelic and Scots languages. This consultation exercise and the views received will assist with the progress that we will make with these commitments.
Scottish Government Commitments
The Scottish Government has made a number of commitments to the Gaelic and Scots languages. Among these there are four key commitments which can be regarded as particularly significant with the other commitments falling under these broad areas. The four key commitments are: to establish a new strategic approach to GME, to explore the creation of a Gàidhealtachd, to review the structure and functions of Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG), and to take action on the Scots language. Where primary legislation is needed for these, the commitment to a Scottish Languages Bill could serve as the legislative vehicle that will enable progress to be made with these commitments.
Over recent years there has been good support for Gaelic. A range of projects and initiatives have been put in place and important legislation has been supported in the Scottish Parliament. There has also been an increase in support for Scots and growth in resources available. With these new commitments and the growing evidence of support for these languages the Scottish Government would like to take additional steps in support of Gaelic and Scots.
The consultation paper will take each of the key commitments in turn, describing the key commitment and those subsidiary commitments which we consider as being connected to or falling under these broad areas. We will try to set the scene by providing a range of views that have been shared with us thus far through informal consultation with a range of stakeholders.
This is designed to stimulate further discussion, ideas and engagement with all relevant interests. No decisions have as yet been taken on how to make progress for Gaelic and Scots and we are actively seeking contributions from across all communities. We are seeking views on how further progress can be made and the views that we receive will assist in shaping the actions taken immediately and over the longer term to deliver on these commitments.
We are aware that there are links and interdependencies between the various Gaelic commitments. For example, it is likely that GME will feature in any discussion relating to the exploration of a Gàidhealtachd. Similarly, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has a role in relation to education; changes to education or indeed the exploration of a Gàidhealtachd will involve consideration of the functions that Bòrd na Gàidhlig should have to support changes in those area and therefore will overlap with the review of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s own structure and functions.
The commitments above do not specifically mention MG ALBA but we are aware that the wide and diverse contribution of MG ALBA adds value to a number of important areas of Gaelic activity. The Scottish Government’s support for MG ALBA has enabled this body and BBC ALBA to add to Gaelic learning, arts, community activity, skills and the economy. For this reason we would expect that MG ALBA will feature prominently in these discussions.
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