English is the official language of the UK and is in common usage, though Wales is officially bi-lingual. The UK ratified the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 2001, and has accepted certain obligations in respect of designated languages in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.
A Welsh Language Board was established as a statutory body under the Welsh Language Act 1993. Its primary aim is to promote and facilitate use of the Welsh language and it does this by awarding grants and regulating the preparation and implementation of Welsh language schemes by public bodies. The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 replaced the Board with a Commissioner. The measure gave the Welsh language official status and established standards to ensure that Welsh should be treated no less favourably than English. In 2017 the Welsh Government published a White Paper, Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh Language Bill. The following year the Welsh Assembly Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee launched an inquiry into how the language was supported and its report Supporting and Promoting the Welsh Language was published in July 2019. Use of the Welsh language is a deeply cultural issue and Arts Council of Wales funding and the strategy support this. In 2017/18 there were significant increases in Welsh language performances by touring companies and attendances had also grown.
Cornish is an officially recognised minority language and although numbers speaking it in England’s South West are not large, they appear to be growing.
British Sign Language (BSL) was recognised as a language in its own right by the UK Government in 2003 for the deaf and hard of hearing community.