IMPLEMENTING Welsh language standards is having a negative impact on the finances of a local authority, it has been claimed.

The Welsh Government introduced measures in 2016 which require public bodies like councils and police forces to provide services bilingually or face being fined.

Wrexham Council has recently come under fire for a catalogue of failures, including Welsh errors in council tax bills and Welsh parking signs at country parks having to be replaced because of mistakes.

They form just some of the 34 complaints made against the local authority in the last year for struggling to maintain the standards.

Councillors at a meeting of backbench politicians were told translation services for the county borough are currently provided by Conwy Council at a cost of almost £162,000 in the last financial year.

It has previously been suggested that the service should be brought back in-house to keep a closer eye on the quality of translation, but members have baulked at the estimated price of more than £216,000.

Cllr Sonia Benbow-Jones, who is part of one of the ruling independent groups, questioned whether meeting the standards was placing too much pressure on the council’s purse strings.

She said: “The Welshness is important and I recognise that importance and value of it, but I feel it’s a big drain on our resources at a time when budgets are really being stretched.

“Welsh Government is putting money into schools, which is fantastic, but for older people who haven’t got the benefit of being able to use the language and the challenge it presents, it’s a big cost to us.”

Cllr Hugh Jones (Con), whose portfolio maintaining the standards falls under, said the main issue the council would face if it ran the service in-house would be finding enough translators.

The executive board member highlighted previous difficulties with recruitment as a result of candidates preferring to work in a ‘more Welsh-speaking’ area of the country.

Despite the costs, Cllr Jones was keen to stress the cultural importance of the Welsh language to the border county.

He also described the contract with Conwy, which charges 0.06p per word or £60 per 1,000 words, as being the most affordable way of providing bilingual services.

Cllr Jones said: “The cost is one side of it and that’s true.

“On the other side of that is the huge influx we get into Wrexham as a result of the Welsh language events we put on in Tŷ Pawb and the town centre, which is absolutely fantastic.

“While there is a cost, I would say it is relatively moderate cost in terms of the benefit the young people of Wrexham get.

“What we have here is the most cost-effective way of delivering that service.”

He added that in many cases delays in receiving translation work were caused by officers sending requests in late.

At the end of the meeting, councillors asked for another report on complaints about errors in Welsh to be brought to them in 12 months’ time.