Sunday 23 April 2017 / 8:33 AM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Labour to give workers a break and bring our four nations together with four new national holidays

Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, will announce Labour’s plan to give
Britain’s workers the break they deserve and bring our four nations together
with four new national holidays for the whole of the United Kingdom.

Under Labour’s proposals, UK-wide public holidays will be held on St, David’s
Day (1st March), St Patrick’s Day (17th March), St. George’s Day (23rd April)
and St. Andrew’s Day (30th November). With eight public holidays, the UK
currently has the fewest of any G20 or EU country.

Speaking on St George’s Day to announce the policy, Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of
the Labour Party, will say:

“For years, Britain’s workers haven’t had a proper pay rise, with wages
for most people still below 2007 levels. After seven years of painful
austerity, our workers deserve a break – and under a Labour government, they
will have the opportunity of four more days off a year.

“The four nations that make up our great country have rarely been more divided
due to the damaging and divisive policies of this Conservative government.

“But where Theresa May divides, Labour will unite our four nations. A Labour
government will make St George’s Day – England’s national day and Shakespeare’s
birthday – a public holiday, along with St David’s Day, St Andrew’s Day and St
Patrick’s Day.

“And we will ask for the support of the governments of Wales, Scotland and
Northern Ireland so that the same four holidays can be enjoyed across the
United Kingdom.

“These holidays will be a chance for workers to spend time with their families,
in their communities and with their friends. But they will also be a chance to
celebrate the national cultures of our proud nations.

“The next Labour government will give workers the break they deserve and bring
our country closer together.”

The Leader of Scottish Labour, Kezia Dugdale will say:

“Scottish Labour believes that together we’re stronger, and that means
celebrating what unites us across the four nations of the UK.

“St Andrew’s Day is a proud day of celebration in Scotland, and some workers
already get the day off, but Labour would like to see that extended to all
workers – not only in Scotland, but across the UK.

“Scotland is home to tens of thousands of people from England, Wales and
Northern Ireland, and this policy will encourage the entire country to
celebrate the four national days.

“Our country is far too divided as a result of the SNP’s plans for a second
independence referendum and the Tories’ plans for a hard Brexit, and only by
backing Labour can voters send Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May a message that
together we’re stronger.”

The Leader of Welsh Labour, Carwyn Jones will say:

“Welsh Labour has long been in favour of making St David’s day a public holiday
in Wales. Today’s pledge would make that a reality for the 1.4 million
hardworking people across Wales.”


Editor’s Notes:

1. The UK
has the lowest number of public holidays of the major economies – 8 compared
with a G20 average of 12. Four extra holidays would take us to the G20 average.

2. St
Andrew’s Day is a public holiday in Scotland, where the issue is devolved, as
is St Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland. Labour’s proposal would be to seek the
support of the governments of the three devolved administrations for four
public holidays, but the decision whether to go ahead in Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland would be theirs.

3. Estimates
of the economic impact of public holidays (including by the DCMS) are
contradictory, varying between a net benefit and net cost. There is no
definitive measure. There is also evidence of productivity and wellbeing
benefits, and the evidence of costs are that they are of delayed rather than
lost output.