Friday, March 04, 2011

St. David’s Day success for Welsh Liberal Democrats before Welsh Conference

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has today welcomed the news that the UK Government will consult the Welsh Assembly over giving them the power to decide whether or not to move the Early May Bank holiday to coincide with St David’s Day on 1st March.

Welsh Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for St David’s Day to be a bank holiday so that the people of Wales can celebrate their culture and heritage. Mark Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, held a debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday arguing that the Welsh Assembly should be given the power to designate St David’s Day as a public holiday.

In 2000, the Welsh Assembly voted unanimously in favour of making St David’s Day a public holiday, but the Labour Government in Westminster would not give the Assembly Government the power to designate a public holiday on 1st March. The Scottish Parliament voted to make St Andrew’s Day a public holiday in 2006.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
“This is great news for Wales. A St David’s Day holiday would be a great opportunity to showcase our culture and heritage, making it a global festival of all things Welsh and a showcase for investment and tourism as well as a celebration of our national day. This will be a day to celebrate our culture and promote economic activity like the Irish do.

“I have been pushing very hard for this with the UK Government. Labour had 13 years to deliver this but never did.

“There is a great deal of support for an extra bank holiday, and I hope that in Wales we will soon be able to follow Scotland in making our national saint’s day a public holiday.”

Mark Williams, Ceredigion Welsh Liberal Democrat MP said:
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for a bank holiday on St. David’s Day for a long time and I am very happy that the UK Government is going to consult with the National Assembly over giving them the power to decide whether or not to move the Early May Bank holiday to coincide with St David’s Day on 1st March.

“Kirsty Williams and I have been lobbying the UK Government and I am very happy that they have listened to us. It is now up to the Assembly to make their representations so that we can ensure that next year we can celebrate our patron saint’s day the way we ought to.”
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