“Tai, Gwaith, Iaith” – new strategy needed to tackle depopulation in Welsh communities

Ahead of a panel discussion at the National Eisteddfod in Boduan, Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has called on the Labour Welsh Government to develop a comprehensive strategy to urgently tackle depopulation in Welsh communities.

Referring to figures which show a fall in the number of younger people in areas such as Anglesey and Pembrokeshire, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said that “tai, gwaith, iaith” (homes, jobs, language) are the cornerstones of vibrant and resilient communities.

He added that Plaid Cymru had secured significant concessions from the Welsh Government as part of the Co-operation Agreement but that the Government must go much further if it is to reach its target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050 and improve the resilience of rural economies.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

“Young people in Wales are being forced to leave their communities due to a lack of meaningful employment and a shortage of affordable housing.

"We have a generation of talent eager to make a contribution but the Labour Welsh Government’s failure to address the crisis facing our communities means that there is a lack of opportunities for them.

“Between the 2011 and 2021 census, the number of people aged 35-49 on Anglesey fell by 2,300 whilst the same figures for Pembrokeshire was 4,000.

“Tai, gwaith, iaith – homes, jobs, the Welsh language – those are the cornerstones of vibrant and resilient communities. That is why Plaid Cymru prioritised addressing the housing crisis as part of the Co-operation Agreement by persuading the Labour Welsh Government to take action on second homes. It’s why we’ve also ensured funding for the Arfor 2 scheme which invests in the economic resilience of Welsh language strongholds.

“But the Government must go much further. It’s not just the lack of affordable housing which is forcing young people to move but also the lack of high-skilled, well-paid jobs. 

“The Labour Welsh Government must develop a comprehensive new strategy to address depopulation and to attract sustainable investment to our language’s strongholds.

“Thus must include urgent support for areas such as Llangefni and Capel Hendre which have recently lost hundreds of jobs due to companies leaving the area in light of the cost of living crisis and Brexit. 

“Protecting the Welsh language is also more than just setting a target – it also means protecting the communities where Cymraeg can thrive. Census data shows that fewer children today believe they can speak Welsh than a decade ago, and the target of a Million Welsh Speakers by 2050 appears increasingly unrealistic based on the policies and approach of the current Labour Government. 

“The Census also shows a fall in the number of adults who speak Welsh in the areas where there has been an increase in the number of second homes, which highlights the importance of having a comprehensive package of policies to address the challenges facing housing, employment, and the Welsh language, and to do so as a matter of urgency.”