ASK everyone in Wales and we’re confident that most would say that March 1, St Davids Day, should be a bank holiday in Wales.
Powers to decide bank holidays have not been devolved to Wales, so the UK Government decide and Westminster have rejected requests for St. Davids Day to be made a public holiday.
There have been calls for a change of heart from political leaders in London with and the issue is to be discussed on Wednesday, March 2, in the Senedd.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Tom Giffard MS saying:
“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.
“People in Scotland and Northern Ireland have a bank holiday to celebrate the patron saints there, so now is the time for Wales to follow suit and have the same for our patron saint.
“Sadly, the Labour government in Cardiff Bay has failed to effectively lobby the UK Government to make this a reality, and we want them to work constructively with Westminster to make this happen.
“There are huge potential economic and cultural benefits, and a bank holiday on our national day gives us the opportunity to promote Wales to the rest of the world.”
Welsh Conservatives want the UK government to think about moving one of May’s bank holidays to St. Davids Day, however Gwynedd council leaders are already offering many of its employees the day off despite admitting it would cost £200,000 to ensure vital services were maintained.
There are a growing number of Welsh bodies who also want to give their employees time off to celebrate St. Davids Day with Snowdonia National Park Authority saying that the cost of the day off would be minimal to them, with many of its commercial centres being closed until the start of the tourist season anyway.
Wyn Ellis Jones, chairman of Snowdonia National Park Authority said: “The staff received the extra day of holiday last year as a reward for their hard work over the pandemic and we feel that the same should happen again this year,”
Before the Senedd debate the issue on Wednesday, the Welsh government said: “We’ve repeatedly asked the UK government for the Senedd to have the powers to make St David’s Day a bank holiday, and it’s disappointing to see these requests continue to be refused.”
The UK government have said: “The current pattern of public and bank holidays is well established and, while an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy is considerable.
“The UK government has no current plans to change the accepted arrangements for bank holidays in Wales. We remain committed to working together with the Welsh government to ensure that the UK’s institutions are working collectively as one United Kingdom.”
So, for the time being, it seems that St. Davids Day won’t be celebrated the way that, it seems, that most Welsh people would prefer.
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