August 8, 2022

The move is suggested as a good way ‘to thank those who have contributed in ways big and small to making our country a better place to live’

The prime minister has been urged to make the extra bank holiday marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee permanent, by a group of business leaders.

Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak have been told in an open letter by the CBI, UK Hospitality, and a host of brands including bosses of Siemens, Iceland, and Punch Pubs, that a “thank holiday” would honour the monarch and public service and help provide an economic boost after the pandemic.

Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, who is leading the campaign, said the government needed to consider the wider benefits of turning next month’s public holiday marking Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign into an annual fixture. The holiday is set to take place on 3 June.

The BBC reported that research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), commissioned for the campaign, suggested government figures have overestimated the cost of a new bank holiday by 64 per cent.  The consultancy found that the cost would likely be about £831m.

The government estimates this year’s platinum jubilee celebrations will lead to the loss of £2.4bn in economic output, The Guardian reported.

Meaden said 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”.

Sunak intends to review the proposal, PA Media reported.

The PwC research also found that social positives might have been missed out when considering the benefits of bank holidays and that sectors such as retail and hospitality, which were badly affected during the pandemic, would benefit from an uplift in demand.

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England and Wales currently have eight bank holidays annually, in comparison with the European Union average of 11.

But in many countries, if a bank holiday falls at the weekend, workers are not entitled to an additional day off.

The campaign has also been backed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), as well as the Royal Voluntary Service. The TUC has previously called for four additional bank holidays per year.

The bank holiday plea comes after it was announced Monday that pubs across England and Wales will be allowed to stay open until 1am over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.

From Thursday, June 2 to Saturday, June 4, venues across England and Wales will be allowed to continue serving customers for an extra two hours to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s reign.

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