“Credibility” of devolution “undermined” by lack of transparency over Covid decisions

Plaid Cymru has written to First Minister Mark Drakeford to request an urgent update on his government’s position over forming a COVID-19 Special Purpose Committee.

The calls come four months since the First Minister first indicated his intention of forming such a committee, and three years since the first lockdown was called – an event marked by the National Day of Reflection on 23 March.

The letter, which has been signed by both Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS and the party’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, notes the “clear inconsistency” of the Welsh Government approach, in “asserting their right to ‘do things differently’ in terms of policy choices in Wales on the one hand, while claiming that a generalised UK inquiry into the consequences of those choices is sufficient on the other.

Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price MS said:

“The Welsh Government – quite rightly – utilised the devolved levers at their disposal to adopt a tailored response to the pandemic. The more cautious and evidence-based approach here in Wales was in stark contrast to the bumbling inconsistencies of a UK Government that we now know was more interested in lockdown-breaking partying than keeping people safe.  

“But asserting the right to ‘do things differently’ here in Wales is completely at odds with the Welsh Government’s current refusal to be subject to open and transparent accountability.

“The Scottish Government recognised this early on and acted decisively to establish a Scottish Inquiry. Given that Scotland’s devolved competence over health is essentially identical to ours, this continued refusal by the Welsh Government to commit immediately to proper accountability risks undermining the credibility of devolution.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on health and care said:

“Since the early days of the pandemic, Plaid Cymru, along with campaigners for bereaved families in Wales, have called for decisions made in Wales to be scrutinised in Wales.

“Yet, even when the UK Inquiry Chair admitted that not all decisions made in Wales will be covered in UK inquiry – seemingly vindicating our calls – Labour in Wales still insist that the right course of action is to wait for the UK inquiry to conclude.

“As the recent discussion over Avian Flu has demonstrated, we cannot delay, nor should we allow so many questions to remain unanswered. We must learn the lessons of the pandemic now, while collective memories here in Wales remain clear, to enable us to be in a better position in the event of another global pandemic.”