Welsh Conservative Senedd Member backs calls for St David’s Day bank holiday
A Welsh Conservative Senedd Member has backed calls for a bank holiday for Wales on St David’s Day.
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MS Samuel Kurtz said that “of course” the 1st of March should be set aside in order to celebrate the feast day of St David.
“Should St David’s Day be a Bank Holiday?” he asked. “Yes! Let’s get in line with our Celtic neighbours and celebrate our Patron Saint!”
His comments came after a debate prompted by Gwynedd Council’s decision to give staff a day off on 1 March.
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 UK Government have previously rejected calls by the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council to devolve powers over bank holidays or to designate March 1 a bank holiday in Wales.
Yesterday 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, 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, this response was 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.
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