First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he has no doubt devolution has ‘saved lives’ during the Covid pandemic.

Answering a question from The National at the Government’s Covid press briefing, Mr Drakeford said: “When the history comes to be written, what people will see is we have done our best to take the advice of Sage and our own advisors as seriously as we can.

“That advice has always been that if we have to take action, we take it early and take it seriously.

“We have been the first mover on so many aspects of the pandemic and undoubtedly that has saved lives.”

As of February 22, Wales’ rate of deaths attributed to Covid stood at 166.4 per 100,000 people, a little lower than England at 189.3.

Scotland and Northern Ireland’s rates were 127.2 and 107.5 respectively.

When accounting for the ages of each country’s population, Wales and England perform similarly.

The First Minister also said devolution has provided the Government with the ability to align decision making with the needs of people in Wales.

Mr Drakeford told The National: “At the start of the pandemic we were the first government in the UK to guarantee that children would have access to free school meals during the holidays as well as during term time.

“We have sustained that all the way through and in our final budget tomorrow we will provide money in order to go on doing that right through the next financial year.

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“That demonstrates that we have been able to align the actions of the Welsh Government to the things that matter to people here in wales.

“To use devolved powers not simply to save lives but to make life better for young people who otherwise would have found the last 12 months even more difficult.”

Speaking more generally about the role devolution has played during the pandemic, Mr Drakeford said the last 12 months have been significant for the relationship between the Senedd and the people of Wales.

“I hope that on the whole it has demonstrated to people in Wales that the powers exercised on their behalf are being used in ways that they continue to support.

“We have an independent ability to act with advice and advisors of our own and we have been able to chart a course through this pandemic in a way that demonstrates both the significance and the success of our ability to use those powers for ourselves.”