To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what estimate he has made of the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland in each of the last 10 years.
Under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, the preservation of the Scottish Gaelic language is a devolved matter.
As outlined within the Scottish Government’s Gaelic language plan (2016-2021) results from the 2011 Census have shown that the decline in the number of Gaelic speakers has slowed since 2001. However, the most recent research from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Language Sciences Institute has suggested a steady decline in the use of the Gaelic language especially by those under 50 years of age.
Gaelic is a vital part of Scotland's cultural identity and I would encourage the Scottish Government to identify urgent steps to support the preservation of the language.