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Petition Create a one off Bank Holiday on Monday June 21st 2021.

We'd like the government to create a one off Bank Holiday, to be known as Merriweather Day, on Monday June 21st 2021 as an opportunity for families and friends to come together.

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COVID19 has negatively impacted people and families up and down the length of the country in many different ways not least their ability to come together. We've seen family celebrations at Eid, amongst others, cancelled and it looks likely Christmas will be the same. This proposed bank holiday would help families and friends of all faiths and none to come together to celebrate. We've chosen the longest day of the year as it provides for the most opportunities to be outdoors in a COVID19 safe way

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Government responded

This response was given on 17 March 2021

The Government has no plans to create a one-off bank holiday on 21st June 2021. While we recognise the sacrifices made in the fight against Covid-19, the costs and wider impacts would be significant.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to celebrate a variety of occasions. We appreciate the sentiment behind this petition and recognise the sacrifices the British people have made in the ongoing fight against Covid-19. The Prime Minister has set out the road map out of lockdown cautiously, and the Government’s approach focuses on data, not dates – the dates set out in the road map are the earliest that any changes will take place.

A bank holiday is usually a day of celebration. While the ending of restrictions will be something to celebrate, many people will still be mourning loved ones. We therefore do not believe that a bank holiday is appropriate.

There are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England and Wales. There are nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland.

While an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy is considerable. The most recent estimate – from the impact assessment for the additional holiday for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 - is that a bank holiday (across the UK) costs the economy around £1.2bn. The extra costs to certain businesses, such as printing and calendar businesses, are substantial.

Full-time workers in the UK are entitled to 28 days statutory paid holiday each year. NHS staff and other key workers are likely to have to work on bank holidays due to their contractual arrangements. Legislation does not give employees a right to time off or extra pay on bank holidays.

Previous discussions with the Department for Education have shown that possible changes in exam timetables are likely to cause significant operational difficulties for schools. These may put the delivery of exam results at risk and draw heavy criticism from exam boards who may have already prepared the schedules for those exams that are going ahead. Another day out of school for children after a long time out of formal education and the impact this could have on them is another very important consideration.

Short notice bank holidays can also have implications across the public sector which need to be taken into consideration, such as:

• Benefit payments falling on the bank holiday would have to be rescheduled, which may lead to backlogs and hardship for claimants.

• Impacts on policing with potential increased demand on police resources.

• Disruption to health and social care services and cancellation of scheduled operations and treatments, of which there is already a backlog due to Covid-19.

• Courts and tribunals would have to postpone hearings. Due to the way that listings are managed, these may have to be pushed back by more than a single day, leading to longer delays.

For these reasons the Government has no plans to create a one-off Bank Holiday on June 21st 2021.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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