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Could the UK’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday be made permanent?

Business leaders want a new annual break to boost the hospitality and retail industries

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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This year, the UK is very, very excited for the Platinum Jubilee weekend. Because whether you give a shit about the Queen or not, loads of people are getting two extra days off. Just think about it: a four-day June weekend of blissful, care-free holidaying. Dreamy stuff, indeed.

And now, excitingly, there are calls to make at least one of those days a permanent bank holiday. In an open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak, a load of prominent UK business leaders have argued the case for a new annual holiday.

Those industry experts reckon an extra permanent day off would provide a welcome boost for both retail and hospitality sectors post-pandemic. They also say that holding the bank holiday on a Friday (rather than the traditional Monday) would limit the economic impact on other industries.

So who’s signed the letter? Well, it’s mostly hospitality firms who, naturally, benefit quite a lot from the boozing and shopping usually associated with bank holidays. The campaign is being led by investor and entrepreneur Deborah Meaden (of TV show Dragons Den), and features the backing of the Trades Union Congress and the chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, among other high-profile industry leaders.

For a new bank holiday to come into law, it has to be approved by the Queen. But Her Maj doesn’t really have much power – she only acts on government advice. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is actually responsible for bank holidays, so they’re the ones that need persuading if we want a magnificent three-day weekend every June.

England and Wales currently have eight annual bank holidays, which, on the face of it, might not seem bad – until you compare it to elsewhere. The average for EU countries is 11 bank holidays every year and, if you take a look at this list, you’ll see that the UK has among the fewest annual public holidays of anywhere in the world.

So maybe we do deserve another one, eh?

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