Handling of Covid pandemic quizzed in poll for BBC Wales

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image captionFirst Minister Mark Drakeford hosting a Welsh Government coronavirus news conference

A poll suggests the Welsh public are more likely to believe the Welsh Government has handled the coronavirus outbreak better than UK ministers.

The findings are in the annual St David's Day poll for BBC Wales carried out by ICM Unlimited.

It suggests that seven in 10 (70%) people in Wales say the Cardiff government has dealt with things very or fairly well.

Two in five (41%) say the same about the Westminster government.

Gregor Jackson from ICM says the pattern is similar to research commissioned by BBC Scotland in November which shows stronger approval of the Edinburgh parliament's performance than Westminster's.

He added: "The stronger backing of the Welsh rather than the UK Government's approach is likely to partly explain the drop in support for the Conservative Party, which is also suggested in the poll."

Responding to the poll findings, the Welsh Government said it had been working closely with the health service, councils and business "as one Team Wales, to help save lives and livelihoods".

Meanwhile the UK Government said it had been "tackling the pandemic as one United Kingdom, working closely with the devolved administrations and following the best scientific advice".

The poll also suggests that a majority of Welsh citizens feel that their income has been unaffected by the coronavirus crisis.

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image captionThe poll indicates most citizens in Wales feel their income has been unaffected by coronavirus

Fifty-five per cent of respondents said there has been neither a positive nor negative impact as a result of the pandemic.

However, there are nearly three times as many people who feel that the pandemic has negatively affected their personal finances compared to those who say the pandemic has positively affected them (32% vs 12%).

ICM says these findings are broadly consistent with UK data from November last year.

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image captionThirty-nine per cent of respondents said the NHS should be the top priority after the pandemic

The poll also indicates that the National Health Service is viewed as the most important area to prioritise once the emergency phase is over.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondents chose the NHS as their top choice.

After the health service, the economy and jobs are seen as the next priority for investment (32%), followed by education and schools (16%).

What do the governments say in response?

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "Our focus throughout the pandemic has been to keep Wales safe.

"We've introduced an unprecedented series of made-in-Wales measures, working closely with the Welsh NHS, local government, businesses and others, as one Team Wales, to help save lives and livelihoods.

"We know the last year has been a huge challenge for so many. We thank the people of Wales for their sacrifices and efforts during periods of lockdown, which have been key in driving down infection rates, and helped save so many lives."

A UK Government spokesperson said: "From the very start we have been tackling the pandemic as one United Kingdom, working closely with the devolved administrations and following the best scientific advice.

"The UK Government acted quickly to deliver one of the most generous and comprehensive economic packages in the world, supporting more than 500,000 jobs in Wales and providing the Welsh Government with more than £6bn for its own pandemic response.

"The UK Government has also set up more than 50 testing sites in Wales, supplied additional PPE, set up mass testing when required and provided the support of the UK Armed Forces. It has also procured and distributed hundreds of thousands of vaccines to Wales and the success of the vaccine programme is now bringing the return to normal life within sight."

"As we recover from the pandemic we will prioritise jobs, growth and investment and continue our work to level up all the nations and regions of the UK."

ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 people aged 16+ by telephone on Jan 28-Feb 21 2021. Interviews were conducted across Wales and the results have been weighted to the profile of all Welsh adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules

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