On Wednesday 2 March 2022 a debate will be held in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on whether St David’s Day should be made into a bank holiday.
The motion, submitted by the Welsh Conservatives has been backed by Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.
Whilst the debate will take place in the Senedd, the power to decide if St David’s Day should be a bank holiday rests with the UK Government.
Gwynedd Council in North Wales has already decided to make the country’s patron saint’s day on March 1 a public holiday within its own borders. The move was granted at a cabinet meeting in January.
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.
The party says 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.
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.
“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.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson 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.”