Business leaders have urged ministers to make this year’s extra bank holiday marking the Queen’s platinum jubilee permanent, arguing that it will provide an economic boost and act as a ‘thank holiday’ for workers.
Groups including the Confederation of British Industry, UK Hospitality and the TUC have joined business leaders including ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden in a call for the government to consider the wider benefits of an extra bank holiday from 2023.
In a letter to the prime minister and chancellor, the group said the government had overestimated the economic costs of an additional bank holiday and had not given enough consideration of the potential social and health benefits.
It has been reported that chancellor Rishi Sunak intends to review the proposal, with the Telegraph suggesting he was “supportive” of making an extra bank holiday a permanent fixture.
Research by PwC suggested that the governent has overestimated the cost of a new bank holiday by 64%. It suggested that sectors such as hospitality and retail would benefit from an uplift in demand, and that scheduling an extra bank holiday on a Friday would minimise any costs because of how many people’s typical working hours are arranged.
However, City analysts have warned next month’s platinum jubilee celebrations could trigger a drop in quarterly economic output as the rising cost of living forces consumers to curb their spending.
Extra bank holidays in previous jubilee years have led to sharp reductions in monthly GDP, as the costs from businesses closing for the day were not outweighed by the benefits from higher consumer spending.
Groups including the TUC have long called for more bank holidays for UK employees. There are currently eight permanent bank holidays in England and Wales, whereas Scotland has nine and Northern Ireland has 10. Many European nations including France and Germany have 11.
The letter’s signatories said that making the holiday permanent would “provide a moment every year for individuals and communities to come together, to thank those who have contributed in ways big and small to making our country a better place to live”.