Wales government launches grants for Welsh daily

The Welsh Assembly government announced £600,000 in grants in response to a campaign to launch a daily newspaper in Welsh.

Heritage and Culture minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas said the money would be available over three years and would be administered by the arm’s-length Welsh Books Council to avoid fears of influence by politicians.

The money will be paid over three years, and is much less than the £600,000 annual grant that Y Byd (The World) had been angling for.

Earlier, the paper, which would be run from Machynlleth on the west coast, had said that economies could include dropping daily subject supplements planned for the 24-page ABC1-readership tabloid.

Thomas made plain that others bidders could apply for the grant. He said that ‘other names’have been mentioned – one is the Western Mail, the Cardiff daily.

Thomas added that the cash – part of the political deal which led to the formation of a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition in Cardiff after last May’s election – was intended to widen readership in Welsh, and was not necessarily restricted to a daily.

The minister was responding to a Welsh Books Council report on a Welsh daily, which pointed out that Y Byd had exceeded its finance-raising target, but added that annual subsidies for minority-language dailies in Europe could exceed £2m.

The report said that Y Byd’s ambitions were achievable, but stated, ‘It is very difficult to measure the probability of success.’

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