As the Minister with responsibility for Gaelic, it gives me great pleasure to support the preparation of this, the second iteration, of the Scottish Government's Gaelic Language Plan.
The Scottish Government remains committed to supporting all our indigenous languages, including Gaelic. Gaelic belongs to the whole of Scotland. It is unique and an essential part of the rich and diverse cultural life of Scotland. We see the positive cultural, economic and social benefits that Gaelic brings to the whole country and wish to see the language flourish in a modern Scotland.
A lot has changed in the past 5 years since our current Gaelic Language Plan was approved by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. We have seen an increase in the number of children going through Gaelic education, an increase in the number of Gaelic schools and units, a growth in the number of public authorities making commitments through their Gaelic Language Plans and BBC Alba broadcasting on Freeview while supporting the independent programme making sector in Scotland. Of course, arguably the most significant outcome was the release of latest Census figures which though showing a further decline in older age groups with the Gaelic language showed an increase in all age groups below 20. This demonstrates that policies that support Gaelic education are making a difference and we will continue to work with all bodies for the betterment of the language.
I am confident that our Plan sets out clearly how the Scottish Government will further support the language through our policies and operations and has been produced under the terms of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. This draft Plan seeks to enhance and build upon our current commitments. It is produced at a time when the public sector is under financial restraints and with this in mind we are seeking to introduce commitments which are cost neutral and seek a change in operational practice rather than incurring a direct cost.
I commend to you our draft Gaelic Language Plan and look forward to receiving your comments.
Dr Alasdair Allan
Minister for Learning, Sciences and Scotland's Languages
Email: Ruaraidh MacIntyre
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House