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
    +4

    Comment number 10.

    What about the ordinary people who ordinary things?

    Considering that we are the backbone of the country, surely we deserve a medal as well?

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 9.

    Yet another Welshification nonsense scheme created by Carwyn ("I'm not really a Welsh Nationalist") Jones.

    Sickening !

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    I think I'd be insulted if I had done something worthwhile and was awarded with something named after a religious figure

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 7.

    Here we go again, the English Celt-bashers are getting on their old high horses because they are reminded that their neighbours have their own, far older cultures, independent of them and that their own is sliding down the pan. Grow up! How much is spent on your Royal Family each year on your own honours system?..not to mention the Jubilee. We've endured enough of it!

  • 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.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    And the "what about us English, why cant we have it too" comments have started already.

    Just as in the world as a whole, this story isnt about you!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 4.

    Good for the Welsh, though this only strengthens the case for an English assembly. How much longer do we have to wait? How much longer are we going to put up with being discriminated against and treated like second class citizens

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 3.

    More dross from office lovvies.
    STOP WASTING "OUR" MONEY.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 2.

    Does that mean we can also have in England , and English Honour system for st georges day. Though personally I prefer st edmunds day as the official Patron of England ie Nov 20th. (1) He was real and (2) he was actually anglo saxon ie English.

    As a side note .The banner of st Edmund was raised by the English archers at Agincourt
    .
    Fat chance there will be any English honours list or devolution

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1.

    Don't spend money 'honouring' people just because they've got a fancy job! If they've already got high status and fat salary from their job they don't need to be honoured. Honours should go to ordinary folk who do stuff for nothing to benefit the community.

 

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