‘Nonsense’: Plaid Cymru MS slams Westminster argument for denying Wales St David’s Day bank holiday
A Plaid Cymru MS has branded the UK Government’s argument for denying Wales a St David’s Day bank holiday as “nonsense”.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, who represents the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd, ridiculed the UK Government’s suggestion that too many people travel across the border between Wales and England for work to make it possible.
In a blog post, the pro-independence politician pointed out that neighbouring countries, such as Ireland and Scotland “already celebrate the day of their Patron Saint with a bank holiday”.
A petition, which can be signed here, by Elfed Wyn ap Elwyn, for a St David’s Day bank holiday for Wales.
The UK Government will respond to the request because the petition has passed the 10,000 signature threshold.
Mabon ap Gwynfor said: “The people of Wales should have a national bank holiday on St David’s day. This would allow us to celebrate Wales’ Patron Saint and be proud of our Welshness.
“Neighbouring countries – such as Ireland and Scotland – already celebrate the day of their Patron Saint with a bank holiday. Wales and England have the lowest number of bank holidays in Western Europe.
“There is room to argue that an extra bank holiday would be economically beneficial in allowing people to relax, enjoy and go out to spend with friends and family. The extra bank holiday in Ireland and Scotland has in no way damaged their economy.
“In addition to this, the UK government has already announced several additional one-off bank holidays this year for the Queen’s Jubilee celebration. So, when the British state wants to introduce extra bank holidays, they can without delay or debate.
“The UK government’s argument that too many people travel across the border between England and Wales, and therefore it precludes Wales from having an extra bank holiday, is completely (sic) nonsense. Local authorities already have the power to choose different days to train teachers and give pupils days off, for example. It’s perfectly possible.
“If the UK government insists on not affording Wales a bank holiday on St David’s day, I call on them to instead give Wales the power to decide for ourselves.
“There is also a broader debate here. The normal working week needs to be completely revisited. In 2021, Plaid Cymru called for the development of a 4-day working week pilot. All the evidence and research show that introducing a 4-day working week would be beneficial to people’s health and benefit the nation’s culture and economy.
“A national holiday on Wales’ national day is the first step in the right direction.”
Writing in response to a Gwynedd council request for a St David’s Day bank holiday last year, Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Small Business, said: “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.”
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.