Should we have a bank holiday for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding?

Prince Harry Visits Northumberland And Newcastle Upon Tyne
Source: Getty

Should we have a bank holiday for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding?

YES – Alex Deane, Conservative commentator.

Bank holidays help to generate spending in recreational and leisure sectors, while at the same time harming national productivity more generally.

But let’s be realistic.

We love a royal wedding and we are going to celebrate it whether we get the holiday or not. If there’s no holiday, we will get the hungover productivity hit anyway, without the recreational spending boost.

Moreover, bank holidays lift the national spirit. Whether you were for or against Brexit, for or against Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn – can’t we agree that we need a boost like that?

Economic doommongers who say that a day off means that the sky falls in should reflect on the fact that occasional one-off bank holidays for reasons like this are the trade-off that helps to defeat the persistent argument for an additional permanent one – which would be much worse for their predictions.

Anyway, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are cool.

NO – Eamonn Butler, director of the Adam Smith Institute

We will be bank holidayed out. It’s a spring wedding, and we already have Easter and two May bank holidays around then.

Bank holidays were created in 1871 to give a couple of days’ rest to Victorian factory workers. But politicians think that holidays make them popular, which is why Jeremy Corbyn wants to add another four to the existing eight in England and Wales, nine in Scotland, and 10 in Northern Ireland – not counting our 5.6 weeks of statutory holidays.

A tiny minority of us now work in factories. Far more work in service industries – including everyone in bars, retail, leisure and transport, often low-paid, who end up having to work even longer on busy bank holidays.

Why do we need politicians to set our holidays? Why can’t Jews or Muslims take their own holidays instead of the official Christian ones? Why funnel everyone into the same bank holiday traffic jam?

Workers of the world, disunite! Denationalise our holidays!

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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