St David Awards: Welsh honours system announced

 
Dame Shirley Bassey Shirley Bassey was made a dame in the New Year Honours in 2000

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A Welsh honours system recognising "ordinary people who do extraordinary things" has been announced during a debate in the Senedd.

The first recipients could be presented with the St David Awards next year, but it is unclear how much it will cost to introduce or what shape it will take.

The debate also looked at the possibility of making St David's Day a bank holiday.

The Conservatives said the award needed to be independent of government.

Meanwhile, the TaxPayers' Alliance questioned the introduction of a new honour at a time when public bodies were making cuts.

Start Quote

I have often felt humbled by the extraordinary stories of individuals who work tirelessly, without publicity or self-interest, for the benefit of others and who genuinely make Wales a better place”

End Quote Carwyn Jones First Minister

Welsh people from all walks of life are already recognised along with others throughout the UK and Commonwealth in the annual New Year and Queen's Birthday Honours lists.

First Minister Carwyn Jones announced the new award in the Senedd after a Welsh Conservative motion called for a new Welsh honours system and for St David's Day to be made a bank holiday.

The Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats made a commitment to a bank holiday on 1 March in their 2011 election manifestos, while the Conservatives have proposed a Welsh "Order of St David's" for some years.

Outlining the Welsh government's proposals to launch a new awards system, Mr Jones said: "I have often felt humbled by the extraordinary stories of individuals who work tirelessly, without publicity or self-interest, for the benefit of others and who genuinely make Wales a better place.

"I can today announce that from 2014 I will be launching the St David Awards. These awards will present opportunity for nominations from a broad range of walks of life to be recognised.

"Work is currently being carried out by my officials to identify the appropriate sectors for recognition and the deliberation process for making the awards.

"A starting point will be ordinary people who do extraordinary things."

'Powerful contribution'

Start Quote

A system which reflects and demonstrates honour bestowed by the Welsh nation needs to be independent of government”

End Quote Suzy Davies Conservative shadow heritage minister

He said the award would recognise people who did more than they needed to, and those who made a difference to the quality of life in Wales.

"I want to see a strong business component in the awards - the private sector is the lifeblood of our economy and I want to see that dimension properly recognised," he added.

"I would also like to see recognition for individuals who contribute to raising Wales' profile in the world - this, too, makes a powerful contribution to both our social and economic well-being."

Conservative Suzy Davies, the shadow heritage minister, said the St David Awards were in danger of being seen as government awards and they needed to be independent.

"A system which reflects and demonstrates honour bestowed by the Welsh nation needs to be independent of government and consensus around this is clearly emerging," she said.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said it was good to recognise achievement, but the cost of new awards and of the committees put together to select recipients, must be kept to a minimum.

"Public bodies are making necessary spending cuts, so many taxpayers will question the timing of announcing new initiatives that could cost even more money when savings have to be made," he added.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 83.

    There are already too many pointless awards for people who are only doing their jobs.How much is this going to cost?Time to cut gongs and awards and spend on services to the general public.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 28.

    Fair enough, if it gives people more pride in their country its a good thing.
    As long as it does go to "real people" doing good things.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    St David's Day Holiday - good idea (and St Andrew's day in Scotland, St george's Day in England etc)
    We don't need a Welsh honours system - we already have one - the people who are awarded membership of the Gorsedd for services to Wales and welsh culture. Independent of government and uniquely Welsh.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 6.

    Great idea. About time Wales did its own thing and honoured people who have been supportive or in service to the people of Wales.

    Don't hear much protest about the English system costing money, even though my Welsh taxes go to support that.twice a year system of honouring political cronies.

    And yes St David's Day in Wales should be a national holiday. Vive la difference.

 
 

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