Neath Port Talbot Council latest to join calls for St David’s Day off for workers
Neath Port Talbot Council have today agreed to compile a report into giving council staff a day off on St David’s Day and also to lobby both the Welsh and UK Government to devolve the power to the Senedd.
Wales is currently the only country in the UK without the power to set a bank holiday for their citizens, despite the Governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland being able to give their citizens a day off to celebrate their national day.
The issue was raised by Plaid Cymru councillor Jamie Evans who represents the Neath South ward.
Speaking after the meeting Councillor Evans said: “I am incredibly pleased that Neath Port Talbot council have agreed to create a report looking into the creation of bank holiday for council staff and also that they have agreed to lobby both the Welsh and UK Governments to ensure that this power is devolved to Wales.
“Why should we be denied an opportunity to celebrate the culture and heritage of our nation, when the people of Scotland and Ireland, in the north and Republic are granted a day off work for their national days?”
Cllr Rebeca Phillips who represents Trebanos added, “It is only right that we recognise this important day in our culture and history. Dydd Gwyl Dewi is an expression of Welsh identity and we should be allowed to celebrate this as other countries are able to do.”
Blaengwrach Councillor, Carolyn Edwards stated, “I am pleased to see this important issue brought to council. I welcome a good outcome on this to support our history and cultural heritage.”
Caerphilly County Borough Council have said that they will also lobby both the Welsh Government and UK Government to make St David’s Day a national bank holiday.
Gwynedd Council and Aberystwyth town council have already announced that staff will be given the day off.
In December, the UK Government rejected calls for a St David’s Day Bank Holiday – claiming too many people commute across the Welsh and English border to make it feasible.
In a letter Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Small Business, poured cold water on any additional Bank Holiday for Wales.
Writing in response to the Gwynedd 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.”
The Welsh Government said that they had asked “time after time” for the power to denote 1 March a bank holiday.
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