DCCI president, Paul Collins: Counting the cost of bank holidays

Bournemouth Echo: Paul Collins Paul Collins

FOR most of us, a bank holiday means a lovely long weekend.

In England and Wales, there are eight public holidays throughout the year. In Scotland there are nine, and in Northern Ireland there are 10.

There are many people who would make the case for a permanent additional bank holiday here in England, pointing to other countries in Europe which have many more than we do. The government understands these points of view, but is also aware of the evidence that bank holidays can affect the productivity of the UK economy.

Given the current state of public finances it would not, in my opinion, be a sensible move to consider an additional permanent bank holiday at this point.

The closure of offices, factories and construction sites has a big impact and the government estimates that each bank holiday costs around £2.3bn.

There are many businesses, such as hotels, pubs and shops, which benefit from the extra holiday trade – but these account for just 14 per cent of the economy, while the businesses that close make up almost half.

Some business owners will argue that when their offices are closed for the weekend they are making savings on heating, lighting and phone bills and are also not running up any additional bills. Whatever the arguments, if the sun’s shining, dare I say, who cares?

Bank holidays can have a positive effects on other sectors of the economy and, most of all, can help to increase civic pride and boost our contribution to the communities in which we live.

All factors which contribute to a better work-life balance and a healthier lifestyle.

Hopes were high that this final spring bank holiday would bring the same stunning weather that May Day brought with it.

Bournemouth laid on a weekend packed full of events.

Top of the list, for the first time ever, was the Wheels Festival. Pleasingly, the weather was kind, especially on Sunday.

The sun also shone on the Bournemouth 7s Festival, now in its sixth year.

We are lucky here in Dorset – both to benefit from some of the best weather the UK has to having so many excellent events on our doorstep. We must do all we can to support them and to support our local economy in the process.

After the events of this bank holiday weekend, I’m left wondering if I am getting a little too old for festivals.

Perhaps … until next year?

Comments (1)

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6:47pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Boscomite says...

Easy to say when you don't actually WORK for a living.
Easy to say when you don't actually WORK for a living. Boscomite
  • Score: 1

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