Outrage as UK State Bank Cuts Welsh Language Services - Welsh Language Commissioner Takes Case to High Court

The National Savings & Investment  (NS&I) bank is the subject of an application for  Judicial Review filed by the Welsh Langauge Commissioner Meri Huws.  The suit is response to the NS&I decision to discontinue offering bank services in the Welsh language. The move by the bank is seen by supporters of the tongue as a violation of the 2011 Welsh Language Measure.  Formerly known as the United Kingdom's Post Office Savings Bank,  NS&I is described on the UK Government's Home Page as follows: "NS&I is a non-ministerial department of Her Majesty's Treasury: A state owned savings bank in the UK. "

The reaction to the change in policy by an organ of the UK Treasury has sparked outrage as evidenced by an article on the "Daily Post" website under the headline "National Disgrace: Disgust At The Axe of Welsh Language Service by National Savings".  In this article, Councillor Hefin Williams, Plaid Cymru for Gwynedd, cites examples of  adminstrative hurdles created for bank customers choosing to use Welsh, an official language of Wales.   Councillor Williams goes on to comment on the broader implications for the language caused by the actions of a UK state owned bank: "I am concerned that this will be the beginning of a steep spiral - with the Welsh language services being axed as organisations and agencies budgets tighten...I am pleased that the Welsh Language Commissioner is taking this issue forward and challenging agencies and organisations to re-look at their procedures and ask why their Welsh language provision is not used to its full potential." 

Statement on behalf of the Welsh Language Commissioner:

Exercising her powers under Section 8 (1) of the Welsh Language Measure (Wales) 2011, the Welsh Language Commissioner has applied to the High Court in Cardiff for judicial review of the decision of National Savings & Investments (NS&I) to discontinue its Welsh Language Scheme on 1 April 2013, and its failure to resume the scheme in accordance with recommendations made by the Commissioner on 18 June 2013 following an investigation under Section 17 of the Welsh Language Act 1993.

It is expected that the hearing will be heard in Cardiff between mid-November 2013 and the end of January 2014.

To avoid any risk of prejudicing the case, the Welsh Language Commissioner will not make any further comment.

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