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Calls for Plaid Cymru to end co-operation agreement over Gething defence of Museum Wales cuts

16 Apr 2024 4 minute read
L: Rhun ap Iorwerth – R Vaughan Gething Image by Ben Birchall

Emily Price

Calls have been made for Plaid Cymru to end its co-operation agreement with Welsh Labour early following the First Minister’s defence of cuts to Wales’ national museum.

Vaughan Gething came under fire at a press conference on Monday (April 16) after he offered no immediate help for Museum Wales which may be forced to close its historic site in Cardiff.

Museum Wales is currently facing a £4.5 million reduction in its budget and there are fears that at least 90 jobs could be lost as a result.

The National Museum Cardiff – one of seven sites managed by the organisation – could be forced to close because the building requires “urgent critical work” in order to remain open to the public.

Mr Gething said the Welsh Government faced “difficult choices” as a consequence of making the NHS a priority after a decade of austerity.

He said: “We’ve set out that there would be reductions in some areas, and that’s painful and difficult. The museum is just one of those, there are many, many others.

“I don’t celebrate having to make those choices but I can’t be honest with the people of Wales about having priorities if we aren’t prepared to make choices around those.

“It really does highlight the need to have a different settlement at a UK level.”

The news triggered public outcry and criticism from Senedd opposition parties.

Plaid Cymru warned that unless the Welsh Government take urgent action to get to grips with the crisis facing the culture sector, Wales is at risk of losing its national memory.

Plaid Cymru’s leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth took to social media to blast the First Minister’s comments saying, “Wales deserves a government that doesn’t treat culture as second rate.”

Posting to X, Plaid Cymru MS, Mabon ap Gwynfor said: “Denying us access to our own history and to understanding our own history will do more to damage Welsh democracy than anything those opposed to the Senedd could ever do.

“Labour cannot allow this to happen, must not allow this to happen. Get your act together, pronto.”

‘Basic asks’

But following Mr Gething’s defence of the budget cuts, calls have been made for Plaid Cymru to consider scrapping its co-operation agreement with Welsh Labour.

Former First Minister Mark Drakeford and former Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price signed the unique deal in May 2021.

It saw the Welsh Labour Government team up with Plaid Cymru to deliver a shared programme of work on 46 policy areas.

The two parties said the deal would enable the Senedd to respond effectively to post-pandemic challenges and make lasting change for people in Wales.

The deal is due to run out at the end of this year.

Tory Shadow Minister for Culture, Tom Giffard says the agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

He said: “Plaid and Labour have recently come to an agreement on their culture strategy. But the fact the agreement doesn’t protect our national museum suggests its not worth the paper it’s written on.

“Plaid need to seriously reconsider their continued support for Vaughan Gething’s Labour Party through their co-operation agreement, as it seems they’re unable to secure even the most basic of asks from it.”

We asked Plaid Cymru if they would consider scrapping the co-operation agreement in light of the challenges facing the culture sector in Wales.

We also asked, if Plaid Cymru were in power in Wales, how would the party find the funds to safeguard Museum Wales.

We did not receive a response to either of our questions.

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1 month ago

It’s a new govt now. We’ve achieved almost everything we set out to achieve. Both parties under new leadership – Labour’s has sadly taken a turn for the worst and moreover, their colleagues in Westminster have gone down a very poor path indeed. The closed lists was the final straw for me. Better to call the agreement to an end and campaign vigorously to replace Labour so that we can gain a mandate for a better Welsh Democracy.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
1 month ago

For all their talk, what would Plaid actually do if Mr Gething announced tomorrow he was cutting the jobs and closing the museum because in his opinion the NHS takes priority over culture in Wales? Sadly I think we know the answer given Plaids’ lack of response to Nation Cymrus’ questioning.


1 month ago

Plaid Cymru could help fund it now by renegotiating elements of the co-operation agreement with Welsh Labour. They rather be opposition for opposition’s sake though.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
1 month ago

Plaid should never have entered into the co-operation agreement. It is time for Plaid to campaign more vigorously for our independence. The Labour party in Wales are complicit with 14 years of Tory austerity. We have a duty in Wales to protect future generations from Tory policies which continually damage our public services.

1 month ago

Maybe one day it will dawn on Plaid and its supporters that unionist Labour is part of the problem not the solution.

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