Governments to discuss four-nation approach to Christmas

A meeting involving the four governments of the UK to discuss Christmas is expected to take place later this week, Wales’ First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford told a press conference that his team had been contacted by Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office to “get a date in the diary” in the next few days to talk about a “common approach to Christmas”.

He said the UK Government had suggested there would now be “weekly engagement” with the four nations, which would result in the “regular, reliable rhythm” the Welsh Government had been calling for.

“I think it is good news that the first topic of discussion will be a common plan for Christmas because I very firmly believe that this is one of those areas where having an approach that is adopted across the United Kingdom is the right way to be able to offer hope to people here in Wales and elsewhere that we are are able to plan purposefully together for the season,” Mr Drakeford said.

Mr Drakeford paid tribute to Royal Mail staff (Joe Giddens)
Mr Drakeford paid tribute to Royal Mail staff (Joe Giddens)

The First Minister was speaking as Wales’ 17-day firebreak lockdown ended, with a new set of national measures put in place across the country on Monday.

He said he could not “categorically” rule out further measures being imposed but it was hoped that there would be a “path through to Christmas, beyond Christmas and into the new year”.

“What we are planning is for the coming weeks, making sure that the efforts we have made give us a path through for the rest of this year and into the Christmas period,” Mr Drakeford said.

When asked whether people should be sending Christmas cards this year, Mr Drakeford replied that there was “no reason” not to.

Mr Drakeford paid tribute to Royal Mail workers for doing a “fantastic job” in keeping mail services going throughout the pandemic.

“I think myself I probably will deliver fewer cards by hand this year because the more we get about and the more we risk meeting people the more the risks are,” Mr Drakeford said.

“I’ll be relying on the hugely professional services of those who work in the Royal Mail and as ever will be thanking them for the enormous efforts they make to make sure that our Christmas post gets from us to those who, this year more than ever, I think we want to be in touch with.”