St David’s Day should be made a bank holiday, Welsh Conservative members will tell the Senedd during a debate this week.
Making the 1st of March a bank holiday would be a fitting way to celebrate the heritage and culture of Wales as well as giving the economy and tourism industry a much-needed boost.
The Welsh Conservative motion, which has been co-submitted by Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems, will be debated in the chamber on Wednesday (2nd March).
There would be huge economic benefits for Wales if it were to happen, with a 2018 study finding that a bank holiday gave UK small shops an average extra boost of £253 in profit, boosting the Welsh economy by millions of pounds.
According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, retail sales are traditionally boosted by 15% for a bank holiday with hospitality and catering boosted by 20%.
And in 2019, before coronavirus struck, two bank holidays gave a boost of £118 million to small and medium businesses across the UK.
The Welsh Conservatives believe a St David’s Day bank holiday would draw thousands of visitors to the country to mark the special day – providing the Welsh economy and tourism industry with a big boost.
There is also huge public support for St David’s Day to become a bank holiday with a BBC Wales poll in 2006 showing 87% support for the idea with a recent petition garnering over 10,000 signatures.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Tom Giffard MS, who will be leading the debate, said:
“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.”