Wales

AMs turning to digital Christmas cards

Janet Find Saunders & Julie Morgan
Mike Hedges & Jenny Rathbone
Ken skates & Peter Black
Russell George & Vaughan Gething

The traditional Christmas card from politicians in Wales could be disappearing with a growing preference for digital festive greetings.

BBC Wales asked all 60 assembly members if they were sending cards.

Of the 34 who replied, more than a third said they are not sending traditional cards but many were sending e-cards or donating to charity instead.

AMs are not able to claim back expenses for the cards, so they have to pay for them themselves.

One of those who has gone digital is Liberal Democrat AM William Powell.

He said: "I've opted for an e-Christmas card this year, as it enables me to stay in touch with the many individuals and organisations with and for whom I have worked over the past 12 months in my role as an assembly member."

Labour AM Joyce Watson donates to charity adding: "I think all Christmas cards are under threat due to increased use of social media not just political ones.

Tradition

"I donate to children's charity instead because I can help make a difference with a donation that's impossible to achieve with a card. "

But many AMs do still choose to send an official card - something that has become something of a tradition particularly with the party leaders at Westminster.

Of the 21 members who replied saying they would still be sending official cards most were sending between a few and several hundred cards this year.

Labour AM for Cardiff Central Jenny Rathbone sent 7,000 cards and is one of the AMs who holds a competition for local school children to design her card.

She said: "Christmas cards are an important way for me to reach members of the community who may find it difficult to get to my regular advice surgeries.

"This year, along with volunteers, I have delivered 7,000 cards. I am really grateful to the 100 children from five primary schools in Cardiff Central who took part in the competition to design my card."

Conservative Darren Millar also does this but sends out 500 cards.

He added: "I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas cards so I like to send them in the post and handwrite each one."

But the Plaid Cymru AM Jocelyn Davies is not convinced about sending cards saying she has never sent them.

"Does anybody need a Christmas card from me? When I was minister, I asked my office not to send any from me - would have been a complete waste of money."

A spokesman for the Assembly Commission confirmed AMs are able to choose from different templates for e-cards and traditional cards but no cost is borne by the taxpayer.

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