Abolish Bank Holidays in Britain – why stop there?


“The Centre for Economics and Business Research says that if bank holidays were scrapped, Britain’s GDP would be £19bn higher every year.” (BBC website)

In a usual year there are 261 weekdays, of which 8 are taken as Bank Holidays. But why stop at Bank Holidays?

Britons on average get 26 days holiday per year – if these were abolished we could boost the economy by a further £59.8bn, or £78.8bn with Bank Holidays.

Saturdays and Sundays are even bigger possible sources for boosting the economy – making the work-week 7 days would add a massive £239.2bn to GDP, brining the total boost to GDP up to £318bn or equivalent to a 23% boost to GDP.

And of course we fritter away a lot of time lazing about not working – playing with the kids, sleeping, watching the TV, etc.

Roughly speaking we spend about a third of our time working, a third lazing about and a third sleeping. If we could shift the decadent British “work-life balance” so we spent more time on productive work we could boost the economy hugely…. A modest increase to a 10 hour working-day perhaps? If a 7-hour a day off costs us £2.3bn, that should add another 43%.

Before you know it we could have doubled GDP. And pigs could fly.

The point of this little exercise is that the sort of figures peddled by CEBR are nonsense and a just a PR gimmick for what is a commercial outfit, not a “think-tank”. Why does the BBC give such prominence – free advertising – to such garbage?

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About Colin Talbot

Professor of Government. Universities of Cambridge and Manchester, England.
This entry was posted in Whitehall. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Abolish Bank Holidays in Britain – why stop there?

  1. Len Anderson says:

    Agreed, a worthless item peddled by the Beeb. Don’t the editors have any critical faculties if waste and billions are mentioned?

  2. For what it’s worth, I’ve just written to Auntie asking why they mention the politics of the IPPR in this story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17649817

    but there’s no mention of any political bias in this one.

  3. vortigernlex says:

    Reblogged this on vortigernlex and commented:
    Spot on

  4. anusarin says:

    It’s a shame that BBC with all its resources and power could not vet its source more carefully and just chose to make a news item out of a ‘forecast’ with total disregard to the balanced reporting practice.

  5. I think this is a story the press leapt on, knowing it would cause a bit of a stink. What the CEBR actually concluded was this:

    “Should we reduce the number of Bank Holidays and make Easter Monday a working day as in the US? This is more a social than an economic judgement. Money is not the only thing and a healthy lifestyle needs time off to reflect and relax. We probably had too many bank holidays in April and May last year, when the combination of the Royal Wedding and late Easter combined with the May Day and early summer bank holiday to give 5 bank holidays in roughly as many weeks. Because people took annual leave to bridge over some of the holidays, business lost momentum and this probably contributed to the rather weak economic performance over the year. But in a normal year 8 holidays is probably not too many – though they could be spaced out a bit better over the year.”

    http://www.cebr.com/?p=824

    In other words, don’t cut bank holidays, but give a bit of thought to how they are spaced out during the year.

    Franky, I’m quite happy with things the way they are, but if someone like the CEBR wants to suggest different days, then I’m happy to hear the pros and cons of it.

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