KATE Forbes has called for urgent recommendations from a Gaelic working group to be incorporated into the Scottish Government’s new national language plan.

As one of the Scottish Parliament’s few Gaelic-speaking MSPs, while finance secretary, Forbes set up a working group on economic and social opportunities for Gaelic.

Yesterday, the group published its 39-page report with a range of actions.

It calls on the Scottish Government to liaise with the Welsh Government around housing policy, and particularly its “fair chance scheme” that allows property sellers to market at a local level only for a fixed period as well as discouraging policies that advertise “second home potential”.

The group commended Highland Council’s Home Purchase Scheme, but added that it needed to be reworked for areas like Skye to account for higher home prices.

The Convention of the Highlands and Islands has also been urged to find “more flexible policy and faster provision of housing” due to the disproportionate impact the lack of affordable housing is having on Gaelic-speaking communities.

Other recommendations include making Gaelic medium education compulsory for all S1 to S3 pupils in Skye and Lochalsh, and consideration of an entrepreneurial campus – incorporating Sabhal Mor Ostaig, UHI North, West and Hebrides as well as the creative industries cluster – on Skye or the Western Isles.

Forbes said: “This is the first report of its kind to consider Gaelic and the economy. It is a comprehensive report, and the working group have done an outstanding job in covering so much ground.

“I hope the Government will back the recommendations, particularly on housing, skills and economic development.

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“We all have a stake in the future of the language, but only speaking the language safeguards its use.

“It’s not a museum piece, or an historical artefact. It is a living language, which is also the key to Scotland’s landscape, history and culture.

“The frontier of Gaelic-speaking communities keeps getting pushed back further and further.

“We must say collectively that the frontier cannot recede further.

“The opportunities are too numerous and this report outlines the wide-ranging contributions of Gaelic speaking communities to Scotland’s economy.”