Wales’ First Minister has said that Wales already has a “huge degree of independence” but that membership of the UK is an “insurance policy” in times of financial hardship.
Mark Drakeford was asked by Sky News why he was not advocating independence after the UK Treasury refused to extend furlough for Wales but did so for England.
“What I say to people who make that argument is that we have a huge degree of independence already,” he answered.
“We make our own laws here in the Senedd. We exercise the powers that we do have independently as we have throughout the crisis as I have done so when I thought it was right to do so for Wales, as we did with our early firebreak period we went ahead and made that independent decision.
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford says ‘the treasury is meant to be for the whole UK, not just England’ and adds the Welsh government have not had ‘a sufficiently regular and reliable pattern of engagement with the UK government’.#KayBurley https://t.co/4rXeDdEQ1W pic.twitter.com/YRGA9kg6zO
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) November 2, 2020
“But at the same time we are able to draw on the strength of the United Kingdom. We wouldn’t be talking about millions of extra pounds for Welsh businesses if it wasn’t for the fact we are part of a big insurance policy that is the United Kingdom. Paying in when we can, drawing out when we need it.
“I think Wales has the best of both worlds. A strong and assertive devolution settlement and membership of what I see as a successful United Kingdom.”
Mark Drakeford’s comments came after the cross-party independence movement, YesCymru hit 10,000 members yesterday, with 1,000 joining within the previous 24 hours.
The Welsh independence movement had previously set a target of 10,000 members before the end of the year. They hit the target at 5.27pm today, they said, “a little earlier” than they had expected.
The cross-party movement said that they had seen their membership increase from 2,300 members at the beginning of the year.
The latest poll on Welsh independence conducted in September showed that with ‘don’t knows’ removed, 32% were in favour of Welsh independence and 68% against.
“Something big and beautiful and powerful is happening in Wales,” YesCymru Chairman Sion Jobbins said.
“Westminster’s handling of COVID-19 has shown to people in Wales that the Senedd and Wales can do a better job than Westminster. Westminster isn’t the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ – it’s just the world’s best gentleman’s club.”