Bank on an autumn break

Author
Ian Bell
Executive Director of Bath Chamber of Commerce and Initiative | Business West
29th August 2018

As regular readers will know, I’m a glass half full sort of person, always trying to look on the bright side, difficult though that can be at times. But, even I have a struggle to stay optimistic now that the nights are starting to draw in and we can rely on the certain knowledge that the coming weather will soon make the summer heatwave a distant memory.

Even worse, we’re past the August bank holiday and we’re not due another break until Christmas, almost four months away. So that got me thinking. Is there is a case for a new bank holiday sometime around the middle of that period to cheer people up and give them something to look forward to?

It is true bank holidays come at a cost, estimated at something in the order of £2bn a go to the economy as a whole, but if it lifted spirits it could improve productivity which would go some way to offset that bill. 

When you compare us to the rest of the world we are lagging behind with the number of bank holidays. The average in the G20 is 12, the Americans have 10, Brazilians 15, whilst the Argentinians have a whopping 19. You have to go back 40 years to find the last time we had a new bank holiday, May Day, so it’s surely time to at least give it some consideration.

It wouldn’t be easy to come to an agreement. First of all we’d have to settle on a date though maybe the first Monday of the school half term might make some sense. Then we’d have to work out what to call it and whether to use it to mark an anniversary of some kind. I don’t suppose there would be much in the way of support for a Halloween holiday but I am confident that with enough thought, we could come up with something interesting and appropriate. 

On the other hand, some business folk, especially those running their own small firms might think this one of the worst ideas they’ve ever heard and point out the many problems this could cause their operation. For example, having to close their doors, or paying additional staff costs if they want to stay open.

As always I would be keen to hear what people thought of the idea by sending comments to info@bathchamber.co.uk

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