More bank holidays?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The call by the TUC for another four more holidays in England to get closer to the average number of public holidays in Europe has produced all the usual arguments.

An NHS public holiday was mooted last year

On the “no” side are business groups and some economists who point out the economic effect of adding a single day’s holiday can cause.

On the “yes” side are those who say that it will boost mental health by giving people a break.

In the past, Just about Travel has called for at least one more public holiday and for that to be scheduled in the long run-up to Christmas. At least in Scotland there is the St Andrews day holiday in late November but in England and Wales there is nothing for almost four months.

But, as in previous attempts to raise the question about more public holidays, the TUC’s call lasted a day in the news media and then disappeared from sight. It looks as though the subject has been kicked into the long grass yet again.

Originally these bank holidays were largely for religious reasons like Easter and Christmas and then more holidays crept in to the calendar such as Labour or May day holidays to celebrate workers.

England and Wales don’t have national day holidays like most countries – including Scotland – does so a holiday on April 23 and March 1 would seem reasonable for those two countries to reflect national pride on those days.

As it is, public holidays are clustered too closely together such as three around Christmas and the new year, two at Easter and two in May. We have no holiday for Armistice day in November or, as an alternative, Armed Services Day in June.

There has been talk of celebrating the NHS on, perhaps July 5th – the anniversary of its introduction but that idea was shelved just as in the aftermath of Churchill’s death in 1965 it was suggested that his birthday on November 30th become a public holiday.

In that long winter run-up to Christmas the obvious day to have a public holiday would be on the Monday that coincides with half-term as many families have to juggle child care provision anyway.

Call that day Family Day, Respect Others Day, Remembering Others Day or anything you like but a break in October would do more to cheer us up in those dark nights than many other things that could be done for our well-being.

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