Scottish Government Gaelic Language Plan 2016-2021

How the Scottish Government supports Gaelic in its operations, to ensure the language has a sustainable future in Scotland.


The Scottish Government recognises that Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland's heritage, national identity and current cultural life, and has great potential as an asset for adding economic and social value. The Scottish Government has taken action and has put in place the necessary structures and initiatives to ensure that Gaelic has a sustainable future in a modern and vibrant Scotland.

However, the position of Gaelic remains extremely fragile. If Gaelic is to have a sustainable future, there needs to be a concerted effort on the part of Government, the public sector, the private sector, community bodies and individual speakers to:

  • promote the acquisition of speaking, reading and writing skills in Gaelic
  • use and enable the use of Gaelic in a range of social, formal and work settings
  • expand the respect for, and visibility, audibility and recognition of Gaelic
  • develop the quality, consistency and richness of Gaelic

The development of Gaelic Language Plans by public authorities is a key component of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. Gaelic Language Plans help to formalise and communicate to an organisation's staff what its policy is in relation to Gaelic matters, and makes clear to users and learners of Gaelic what services they can expect to access through the Gaelic language.

This document is the Scottish Government's second iteration of its Gaelic Language Plan, prepared within the framework of the 2005 Act. It sets out how we will use Gaelic in carrying out our business, how we will enable the use of Gaelic when people interact with the government, and how we will promote the development of Gaelic. The Scottish Government has a key role in supporting the Gaelic language, and in supporting Bòrd na Gàidhlig and other organisations in achieving the aims of the National Gaelic Language Plan.

Working with Bòrd na Gàidhlig and other organisations is key to our delivery of support for the Gaelic language and we wish to encourage all organisations to do what they can in this area. Small changes to how we all work can make a difference as we work towards more substantive goals.


Email: Ruaraidh MacIntyre

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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