Four extra bank holidays: Just how much would Labour's policy cost the economy?

Lynsey Barber
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More relaxing bank holidays... but at what cost? (Source: Getty)

We may already be in the season of bank holiday bonanzas (thanks Easter!) but who wouldn't want more?

The country was treated to an additional day off in 2011 for the royal wedding and then again for the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations a year later, but now Labour wants to give the country four (yes, four) extra days every single year in the party's latest salvo to woo voters ahead of the General Election.

But how much would those plans cost the country's economy? Perhaps surprisingly, it's hard to tell.

Read more: Corbyn woos workers with promise of four new bank holidays

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimates the cost of each bank holiday to be £2.3bn, though the think-tank admitted it was "difficult to calculate".

That would put the annual bill at £9.2bn based on these calculations.

To put that in context, the budget for the Department for International Development is £11.1bn and the cost of NHS pensions is around £10bn each year.

Read more: The Green Party wants a three-day weekend

But, while the country loses money due to lost working hours (almost 5 per cent of working time available according to the Bank of England's Ben Broadbent) and closed shops, it does gain in other areas, such as additional spending on holiday, going to the pub or doing that major bit of DIY you've been putting off for a while.

The impact of the additional 2012 bank holiday was estimated as "small" by Broadbent. Then-governor of the central bank Sir Mervyn King said output would be hit by the loss of a working day, but it would not necessarily be a whole day's worth.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the estimates "go either way" but added it gave people more time to spend with their families.

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