HC Deb 21 March 1961 vol 637 cc202-3
40 and 49. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether, in view of the fact that there are less Bank Holidays in this country than in any of the following European countries, namely, Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, Spain, Sweden, and Yugoslavia, and that there are none at all between August and Christmas, he will instruct the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consult together on the desirability of having another Bank Holiday each year early in September;

(2) whether he is aware that many people in the industrial cities in the Midlands and North take their annual holidays in the weeks immediately before or immediately after August Bank Holiday and that, as a result, there is unnecessary overcrowding in holiday centres; and, in order to encourage the taking of some of these annual holidays at the end of August or the beginning of September, if he will instruct the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the President of the Board of Trade to consult together on the desirability of spreading annual holidays by means of fixing Bank Holidays at different times of the year.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

As the House knows we owe the institution of legal Bank Holidays to Sir John Lubbock—"Saint" John Lubbock as he came to be called. But fortunately nowadays people are not dependent on Bank Holidays alone for their periods of holiday and recreation.

As for the question of spreading the holiday season over a wider period, that is being examined.

Mr. de Freitas

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind that, apart from the desirability of having another Bank Holiday, every travel agent and every landlady at the seaside will tell him that Bank Holidays act as magnets to the annual holidays, and that one very good way of spreading the annual holidays throughout the summer would be to have another Bank Holiday, probably in September? Will he look at this again, because that is surely the best way of relieving the congestion at holiday centres?

The Prime Minister

This matter is being examined by a committee, and there are, as the hon. Gentleman knows, quite a lot of considerations, such as school terms and all the rest, which have to be taken into account.

Mr. Teeling

Would my right hon. Friend also bear in mind that the seaside resorts would very much prefer to have an extra Bank Holiday not so much in September as earlier—in June or July?

The Prime Minister

All these considerations are no doubt being examined by this committee.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Prime Minister aware that in the west of Scotland the Glasgow holiday is the Glasgow Fair in July? Will he bear that in mind when considering the annual Bank Holiday?

The Prime Minister

Yes; and other cities have their traditional fairs at different times of the year.

Forward to