Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Gwynedd becomes first council to give staff St David’s Day off

18 Jan 2022 3 minute read
St. David. Picture by Hchc2009 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Gwynedd Council has voted to become the first council to give staff St David’s Day off.

The decision comes after the Welsh Government expressed their “disappointment” that the UK Government would not allow them control over bank holidays in Wales.

The UK Government had previously said that St David’s Day could not be a bank holiday as there was too much cross-border movement between Wales and England.

The proposal backed by Gwynedd Council will cost £200,000 due to the need to employ part-time staff to keep the council running on March the 1st.

Cllr Dafydd Meurig, the council’s deputy leader, however said that he believed that Wales could “benefit economically” if St David’s Day celebration became widespread in the country.

“That would be the ideal and ensure that all workers from all sectors have a national holiday to celebrate St David’s Day on the first of March,” he said.

“If Ireland’s St Patrick’s public holiday is anything to go by, there is the potential there for Wales to benefit economically.”

The item voted on by Gwynedd Council said that “St David’s Day 2022 is designated as an additional holiday day for Council staff working on the terms of employment of local government employees, for celebrating our patron saint’s day to be funded in accordance with paragraph 2.10 of the report b”.

It also suggests that the council “authorize officers to investigate possible options to make such an arrangement permanent and to that end further discussions with the recognized trade unions and continue to lobby for Westminster Government support for devolution to the Welsh Government empowered them to establish bank holidays for Wales”.

The report notes that it “would cost around £200,000 every year to the Council (around £100,000 to execute the last option which is half a day of holiday and redesignating the other half day of holidays which are currently allowed)”.

“These costs are mainly because of the need to employ part-time staff to ensure that the service continues in the absence of full-time staff.”

‘Integration’

Earlier the Welsh Government said that they had asked “time after time” for the power to denote 1 Mawrth a bank holiday.

In October of last year, Gwynedd Council send a letter to UK Government ministers calling for an end to the “embarrassing” anomaly of the Scottish and Northern Irish Governments being able to designate their national days while no such powers are currently devolved to Cardiff Bay.

But in a letter Paul Scully MP, the Minster for Small Business, has poured cold water on any additional Bank Holiday for Wales.

Writing in response to the council’s request, Mr Scully noted, “While we appreciate that the people of Wales want to celebrate their patron saint, more people work across the English/Welsh border than across the English/Scottish border.

“This closer degree of integration could cause greater business disruption. If we had separate bank holidays in England and Wales, the impact on both employees and businesses is difficult to predict.”

In the proposal before Gwynedd Council next week, this response is described as “hugely disappointing”.

“It is obvious that the current government at Westminster has no intention of devolving this right and so it will not be possible for the Welsh Government to respond to the council’s demand for now,” they said.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
J A M Davies
J A M Davies
8 months ago

No brainer; of course it should! The sad fact is that the importance of our patron saint needs constant reinforcing. The decline in visible acknowledgement of Dydd Gŵyl Dewi, through the pinning of national symbols on people’s lapels, has been saddening in recent times. I wore a daffodil for the day a couple of years ago, and was lauded by a lady with a Home Counties accent for “supporting a worthy cause.” Feeling pleased with the acknowledgement, I walked away, until something occured to me. I turned around and asked her which worthy cause she meant. “Well, Marie Curie, of… Read more »

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
8 months ago
Reply to  J A M Davies

I always wanted to know what a Polish scientist who lived in France had to do with a daffodil.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Marie Curie cancer charity adopted the daffodil only in 1986, 52 years after she died. Other cancer charities in other countries were already using it by the 80’s. I have a vague memory of the Hodge Foundation selling them for Holme Tower, a Marie Curie hospice, in Penarth around St David’s day back in the 70’s.
I may well be wrong but someone should know more.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
8 months ago

Well done to the Plaid controlled Gwynedd council 👏 be great to see other councils in Wales follow suit. But it’s outrageous that the decision on whether or not we in Wales get a public holiday on our national day rests with a government outside Wales, and is another grim illustration of the weakness of the current devolution settlement. Just another reason – if we needed any more – to strive for independence for Wales

Last edited 8 months ago by Leigh Richards
R W
R W
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think that the Labour led councils in Wales will have the guts to do the same thing.

Grayham Jones
8 months ago

St David got to be welsh day no argument

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

Credit goes to Gwynedd. At least their council has a backbone to make March 1st effectively a national holiday for their county to celebrate our patron saint which can be said of Welsh Labour’s abject failure to do so. But I’m at a loss with the Welsh Government’s continual failure to secure the powers in the hope an English Labour government gets into office and are more receptive, although would doubt Keir Starmer would devolve anything to our Senedd of substance seeing their Wales-only centrist imperialist attitude shown in the past. Both Scotland and NI have none & ten public… Read more »

Rob
Rob
8 months ago

The Senedd should pass a law so that this applies to the whole of Wales. This doesn’t have to be a Bank Holiday, but a Public Holiday.

Eira
Eira
8 months ago

PERIOD

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
8 months ago

Now the other councils in Wales should follow suit and put two fingers up to Westminster.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago

Nice one Dyfrig…

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.