Should the UK have a bank holiday if England win the Euros?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: England fans celebrate after Ollie Watkins of England scores and England win 2-1 while watching the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-finals match between England and Netherlands at Boxpark Croydon on July 10, 2024 in London, England. England face the Netherlands at BVB Stadion in Dortmund after advancing with a 5-3 penalty win over Switzerland on Saturday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
England fans celebrate after Ollie Watkins secures England’s path to the Euro 2024 final. (Getty)

After a nail-biting and stressful tournament for fans, England are now safely through to the Euro 2024 final on Sunday.

England’s performances have been hit by criticism from the off, with manager Gareth Southgate singled out for not being bold enough with a squad of world class players. Nevertheless, the squad are now just one game away from their first piece of silverware since 1966 after beating the Netherlands 2-1 on Wednesday.

There are now growing calls for the country to be awarded a bank holiday, should England beat Spain on Sunday and win the Euros.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - 2024/07/10: Ollie Watkins of England seen during the UEFA EURO 2024 match between Netherlands and England at Signal Iduna Park (Dortmund).
Final score: Full time, Netherlands 1:2 England. (Photo by Grzegorz Wajda/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Ollie Watkins scored for England in the 90th minute in their match against the Netherlands. (Getty)

The Liberal Democrats have added to those calls, with leader Sir Ed Davey saying: “The Three Lions are playing their first ever final on foreign soil, and if they bring it home, the government should bring home a bank holiday to celebrate.

“England deserves the chance to celebrate a once-in-a-generation event. Who knows, we might even get decent weather.”

It is not the first time the Lib Dems have called for a temporary bank holiday. The party led similar calls last year when the England women’s team made it to the final of the World Cup, where their hopes of victory were dashed by a 1-0 win for Spain.

New prime minister Sir Keir Starmer, a keen football fan, has previously spoken of the need for a bank holiday after an England success. Last year Starmer posted on X that “there should be a celebratory bank holiday if the Lionesses bring it home”. He also may wish to capitalise on his election success by tapping into the public’s good mood in the event of a win on Sunday.

Watch: England fans and players alike reflect on 'special' Euro 2024 semi-final

However, he has stopped short of confirming there would be a bank holiday if the Three Lions were victorious on Sunday, saying he did not want to "jinx it".

Speaking at the Nato summit in Washington, DC, he said: "We should certainly mark the occasion. I went to the last Euros finals. I don't want to go through that again so I don't want to jinx anything.

"We must mark it in some way but the most important thing is getting it over the line on Sunday."

Sir Geoff Hurst, a member of the winning World Cup squad in 1966, has leant his support for a bank holiday, writing directly to the Royal Family on X: “England are through to the final! @theroyalfamily If England bring it home on Sunday, will you grant the nation a bank holiday to celebrate?”

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England has the joint lowest number of bank holidays out of all four nations of the UK. There are eight in a year in England and Wales, compared to nine in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland.

Extra bank holidays are granted for special events, such as for royal weddings, jubilees or coronations. However, no bank holiday was awarded after the women’s England football team won the Euros in 2022.

The prime minister has yet to say if he supports calls for one if England win on Sunday, however it may prove tricky to grant one immediately. Businesses, schools and parents may need time to take into consideration workers having the day off and schools being closed so it may be that a special bank holiday is given at a future date.

The new government may also be hesitant as an extra bank holiday could harm the economy. Last year, official figures showed the UK economy contracted in May after businesses across the country downed tools for the coronation Of King Charles. The extra day off meant sectors like construction and finance lost a working day in the month.