HC Deb 02 June 1964 vol 695 cc919-20
03. Mrs. Butler

asked the Prime Minister if he will discuss with the interests concerned the desirability, under modern conditions, of replacing the traditional Bank Holidays with five days statutory holiday with pay to be taken at such times of the year as may be agreed by individual managements and employees.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. This would not offer the same opportunities as the present arrangement for family and communal recreation, and I do not think that it would be so widely appreciated. Her Majesty's Government are however taking steps to relieve some of the congestion caused by the timing of the present Whitsun and August Bank Holidays.

Mrs. Butler

In view of the appalling accident figures and the disturbances which have marred recent Bank Holidays, is it not increasing folly to continue this build-up of people and vehicles concentrating on a few week- ends in the year? Since the Government are already considering the staggering of holidays and discussing this with the interests concerned, would it not be appropriate to discuss at the same time the replacement of Bank Holidays by some modern holiday?

The Prime Minister

There is quite a lot in what the hon. Lady says, but we had better have an experiment first. We propose an experiment with August Bank Holiday next year.

Mr. Rankin

The right hon. Gentleman may not be here.

The Prime Minister

Again, I think the hon. Member is rather rash in his predictions. I think that we had better have an experiment next year with August Bank Holiday and possibly with Whitsun Bank Holiday, and then we shall be in a better position to judge what action to take.