There was an interesting discussion on Radio Cymru’s phone-in discussion programme, Taro’r Post, today. They were talking about comments made by a former major of Aberystwyth, Sion Jobbins, who is urging Welsh speakers to have more children in order to secure the future of the language. He’s not proposing that all families have a large number of children, but wants policies on sustainable population.
Some callers on to programme were in favour of the idea, but pointed out that children are expensive so they would need to be sure of receiving significant financial incentives and support before considering have more of them. Others argued that more places in Welsh-medium schools are needed.
Last week I heard a similar discussion about the Hebrides, where one problem is that many young people, especially young women, leave the islands to study and work on the mainland. Few return, except perhaps many years later when they retire. Many more would return if suitable jobs were available. As a result, fewer and fewer children are being born on the islands and there was talk of finding ways to encourage young families to stay and raise their children there. One proposal is to give grants to people to set up businesses. Here’s a report with more details.