How bank holidays are created and why we have them as call for extra Jubilee day to be made permanent

·2-min read
The UK will enjoy an extra bank holiday in June to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The UK will enjoy an extra bank holiday in June to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The UK is set to enjoy a four-day weekend in June, thanks to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The late May bank holiday has been moved to June 2, while the Jubilee bank holiday will be celebrated on June 3–giving the UK an extra day off.

Business and hospitality leaders have called on the government to make the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday permanent, as they argue the extra day off will provide an economic boost.

But how are bank holidays created?

Why do we have bank holidays?

Bank holidays originated in the UK in 1871, when banks and financial institutions would take days off.

As time went on, businesses, schools, and the government joined in, and now bank holidays are celebrated by everyone.

While key workers and people who work in retail and hospitality may have to work on bank holidays, they are often offered an extra day off in lieu.

How are bank holidays created?

Bank holidays are created under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 and include days specifically listed in the act as well as days proclaimed by the Queen.

The royal bank holiday proclamations usually change holidays to a different day – but occasionally add a holiday – and are announced every summer in The Gazette.

The Platinum Jubilee bank holiday was created to celebrate 70 years of the Queen’s reign.

It was intended that the special holiday would only take place this year – but the government has the power to make it an annual celebration.

However, The Guardian reported that No 10 suggested that it is unlikely that the June bank holiday will become permanent.

Johnson’s spokesperson said it was a “unique” event, and said: “I’m not aware of any plans to make it permanent.”

He said each bank holiday “presents a considerable and significant cost to our economy and therefore each proposal would have to be considered carefully on that basis”.

How does the UK’s bank holidays compare to Europe?

England and Wales usually have eight bank holidays a year, while in 2021 Northern Ireland had 10 and Scotland had 11, according to Trades Union Congress (TUC).

According to the TUC, every country in the EU has more public holidays than the UK, with the EU average being 12.8 days.

Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland and Cyprus have the most bank holidays with 15 days each.

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