Drakeford says Wales should make its voices heard as UK-wide Covid inquiry draft terms of reference published
The First Minister has said that the people of Wales should make their voices heard as the UK Government published its draft terms of reference for the upcoming Covid-19 pandemic public inquiry.
In a statement published today, the Cabinet Office said the main topics of the inquiry will be examining the response to the pandemic and the impact of the pandemic in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and produce a factual narrative account about what happened.
It adds that the inquiry plans to identify the lessons to be learned from the above so it can inform the UK’s preparations for future pandemics.
But the UK Government said that the inquiry which is UK-wide “respects and does not duplicate” any inquiry established on a devolved basis.
The Welsh Government, together with the other devolved governments, were consulted ahead of the publication of the draft terms of reference.
The First Minister said the Welsh Government said they had made concerted representations to the Prime Minister to ensure the experiences of people in Wales will be properly and thoroughly reflected in the inquiry.
Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives and independent groups such as the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru have campaigned for a separate Welsh inquiry looking specifically at the Welsh Government’s handling of the pandemic.
“The pandemic has touched all of our lives in different ways and I would encourage everyone to take part in this process and provide their feedback,” the First Minister said.
“I have met representatives from the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru group. Their experiences and comments were also directly reflected in our representations to the Prime Minister about the terms of reference.
“I am strongly committed to an independent inquiry and I have always believed the best way to achieve this is through a UK-wide, judge-led inquiry.
“The Welsh Government will respond to the consultation to ensure the experiences of people in Wales are properly heard by the inquiry.”
The inquiry chairwoman, Heather Hallett, has urged those with views to come forward and share them..
Baroness Hallett said: “Following publication of the draft terms of reference by the Government, tomorrow I shall open the public consultation on the scope of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry. This consultation is independent of the Government and an opportunity for everyone across the United Kingdom to give me their views on what the inquiry should investigate.
“I should like to hear views on the draft terms of reference from all those who have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially people who have been bereaved, experienced hardship or suffered other harm.”
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