Welsh Conservative leader calls for St David’s Day bank holiday – at odds with UK Government
The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has called for St David’s Day to be made a bank holiday in Wales, putting him at odds with the UK Government.
Wishing everyone in Wales a “happy St. David’s Day” he added: “I’d love for St David’s Day to be a bank holiday here in Wales. Let’s make it happen!”
But the UK Government has previously poured cold water on any additional Bank Holiday for Wales.
Writing in response to a Gwynedd council request last year, Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Small Business, had 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.”
But the idea of a St David’s Day bank holiday was also backed today by the Welsh Conservatives’ party’s culture and tourism spokesman in the Senedd, Tom Giffard, who said it could have “huge potential economic and cultural benefits”.
“People all across Wales should be able to enjoy a bank holiday on St David’s Day and it would be a wonderful moment for the country to unite and celebrate our heritage and culture,” said the Senedd member.
The Welsh Government said that they had asked “time after time” for the power to denote 1 March a bank holiday. The idea is due to be discussed again in the Senedd on Wednesday.
But the campaign has gathered steam this year as a series of councils and public bodies in Wales backed the idea.
Gwynedd Council, Aberystwyth town council and Snowdonia National Park have already announced that staff will be given the day off.
Neath Port Talbot Council have also 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. Caerphilly Council has also said that it would lobby both governments.
The move was originally backed by Gwynedd Council after Cllr Dafydd Meurig, the council’s deputy leader, 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.”
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