In the UK we only get 8 bank holidays each year, 2011 will see us have a temporary bank holiday as Prince William marries Kate Middleton bringing it to 9 bank holidays that year only. Back in the 1820’s we had a whopping 33 bank holidays annually! Over the years this has decreased dramatically but we are still one on the only places in the world to get such little holidays. The United States get 12, Spain 14 and Italy 16! Although it may seem that we do not get that many spare a thought for those countries that only get one or two a year! I have found some countries have as much as nearly 30 bank holidays a year, but I have to say we are luckier that some as officially a working week is Monday to Friday so when a bank holiday falls on a weekend we get in it lieu on the next working week of a Monday, some places such as France do not give it to you that easy. In France if a public holiday falls on the weekend then that is the day you will have it, you will not get the Monday off as you would in the UK.
Here is a summary of the bank holidays we currently have in the UK:
January 1st – New Year
March / April – Good Friday and Easter Monday
May–Early May Bank Holiday, first week of May
May –Spring Bank Holiday, last Monday of May
August –Late summer bank holiday, Last Monday in August
December 25th – Christmas Day
December 26th – Boxing Day
In the New Year an announcement will be made to see how the public reacts to changing the May Day bank holiday from beginning in of May to late October instead. Many people have welcomed this move as there are too many bank holidays clustered together in the first half of the year alone. By moving one of the bank holidays to the second half of the year much of the working class will get a well deserved rest before the Christmas period. Businesses will also benefit as many people have said that they were likely to go away for that weekend within the country. So B&B’s, restaurants and general tourism will increase as many will also hit the shops early in a bid to stock up on some well needed Winter shopping essentials.
I think it would be a wise move to have a bank holiday towards the second half of the year but for personal reasons as I don’t see it benefiting the economy greatly. It’s so much cheaper to holiday abroad even if it is for just a few days as here in England the prices always go up when there is a public holiday or school holiday. As for shopping most people will use this day for rest and relaxation not traipsing around the shops all day hunting for bargains. Many people have turned to the internet to shop for winter essentials as braving the harsh winter months can be more dangerous than previous years.