Business leaders push for permanent Jubilee holiday despite UK Gov denying Wales St David’s Day off
The UK Government are considering renewed calls from business leaders to make the extra Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday a permanent feature, despite denying Wales the chance to take St David’s Day off.
An official impact assessment has suggested that there could be a boost for the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors, as well as mental health and wellbeing, from taking the number of bank holidays in England and Wales from eight to nine.
Business leaders, broadcasters and heads of charities have now signed an open letter calling on them to create a bank holiday recognising “community and service in all its forms”.
The signatories include the chairman of ITV, General Lord Dannatt, Tony Danker, and the director-general of the CBI, Sir Peter Bazalgette.
They say in the letter: “As we start a weekend of unprecedented national celebrations we write as a group of leaders from across businesses, charities, trade unions and the arts to urge the government to help maintain this spirit of community in the years to come.
“The pandemic showed us how dependent we are on each other but too often we take community for granted and don’t recognise the importance it has in both our personal and national wellbeing.
“There are of course many ways to address this but one of them is to create a day in our national calendar that recognises community and service in all its forms, from the key workers to volunteers and simply good neighbours.”
It has previously been reported that Boris Johnson are supportive of the move, but that Chancellor Rishi Sunak was “looking carefully” at the proposals.
Wales and England only have eight bank holidays, the fewest in Europe, while Scotland has nine and Northern Ireland 10, as both are given their own national days off.
The move to create a new bank holiday in June comes despite the UK Government rejecting calls for St David’s Day to be made a bank holiday in Wales In response to a petition which had been signed by over 12,000 people.
Responding to the petition, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Although an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy of an additional bank holiday remains considerable.
“The latest analysis estimates the cost for a one-off bank holiday (across the whole of the UK) to be around £2bn.
“The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to celebrate a variety of occasions. However, the current pattern of bank holidays is well established and accepted.”
The Welsh Government said that they had asked “time after time” for the power to denote 1 March a bank holiday. The idea is due to be discussed again in the Senedd on Wednesday.
But the campaign has gathered steam this year as a series of councils and public bodies in Wales backed the idea.
Gwynedd Council, Aberystwyth town council and Snowdonia National Park have already announced that staff will be given the day off.
Neath Port Talbot Council have also agreed to compile a report into giving council staff a day off on St David’s Day and also to lobby both the Welsh and UK Government to devolve the power to the Senedd. Caerphilly Council has also said that it would lobby both governments.
The move was originally backed by Gwynedd Council after Cllr Dafydd Meurig, the council’s deputy leader, said that he believed that Wales could “benefit economically” if St David’s Day celebration became widespread in the country.
“That would be the ideal and ensure that all workers from all sectors have a national holiday to celebrate St David’s Day on the first of March,” he said.
“If Ireland’s St Patrick’s public holiday is anything to go by, there is the potential there for Wales to benefit economically.”
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