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Gaelic language under threat as SNP Government cuts funding

The Scottish Government has reportedly decided to cut £354,000 from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, a body set up to protect and promote the Gaelic language. This cut in funding has raised concerns that the survival of the language as a living one is under severe threat.

As a result of the cuts, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Gaelic Officers scheme, a fund set up in 2022 to support organisations to employ an officer to undertake Gaelic development work, will be coming to an end in April.

MSP for the Western Isles, Alasdair Allan stated: “The scheme has been running for two years, made possible by a funding uplift for Bòrd na Gàidhlig from the Scottish Government. While BnaG’s core budget remains steady for the coming year, it seems as though this additional uplift in funding is not being renewed, which is extremely disappointing.”

“While every budget is under extreme pressure at present, a loss like this would go against the aims and principles of the new languages bill, as well as immediately affecting the areas where these Gaelic Officers have been working hard to promote and encourage Gaelic language use.”

In 2020, a team of experts from the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Soillse research project studied a number of Gaelic communities and found that “the social use and transmission of Gaelic is at the point of collapse.”

Study author Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, professor of Gaelic research at the University of the Highlands and Islands, stated that the language could be gone within 10 years due to a rapid decline in the number of speakers.

“Gaelic language identity will essentially become a second language, or a heritage identity, in Scotland, and not a lived reality of a community of speakers,” he said.

MG Alba, which funds programme making for BBC Alba and other Gaelic platforms, is also worried about its budget settlement as its £13m annual funding has lost 50 percent of its value over the past decade.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is the executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government with responsibility for Gaelic. It was established by an Act of the Scottish Parliament in 2005 and is based in Inverness.

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of ScottishHistory.org and is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. Neil has a keen interest in the military history of Scotland and in particular the military history of the Jacobite risings.

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