A Government official has proposed moving the May bank holiday to the autumn. But don’t most of us want more bank holidays rather than just switching the existing ones around?
In a bid to prolong the UK tourist season, Tourism Minister John Penrose has suggested having an autumn bank holiday to replace the current May Day.
‘Tourism businesses in the UK are brilliant at providing a quality experience for their customers all year round, but Government should play its part in helping them do so.’
‘An autumn bank holiday, possibly to be branded as a new ‘UK Day’, would not only help the industry, but also give us all a new focus for celebrating the best of what this country does, and all the things that make us a world-class nation,’ he said.
More holidays instead of switched ones
At first glance the idea of a UK Day bank holiday sounds great, but the proposal would see the total number of bank holidays remain the same, with the May Day bank holiday simply shifting to later in the year.
Surely we need more bank holidays – not just switched ones? Compared to some European countries the UK is pretty stingy when it comes to bank holidays, so would one extra day really hurt?
I also wonder what impact switching the May Day holiday might have on tourism and business during this month. There’s already criticism from some quarters, suggesting businesses build their schedule around this holiday – so could a switch actually have an adverse effect?
And what about the new date in the autumn – rather than boost UK tourism it could simply encourage people to head to the Canaries for a bit of sunshine – especially if it’s close to the October half term.
Do we have a say?
John Penrose makes it clear that before the issue is taken further, everyone’s views should be heard:
‘If people decide they’d rather hang on to the May Day holiday, then so be it, but we ought to consider the options in a sensible way before the country reaches a collective decision. A national conversation on the issue would give everyone the chance to have their say.’
So let’s make a start and get sharing our views – would you prefer a bank holiday in May or October – or both?