As I rode my bicycle through central London today, I noticed a strange thing – there was a lot less traffic than usual. Of course it was still a bit hairy avoiding the double-deckers and the ever-growing glut of foreign tourists hanging outside the Buckingham Palace (watching various groups of guards, horsemen, construction workers building a media stand), but the rest of London was quiet – a little too quiet.
And then, it hit me: The mother of all holidays has already started! It’s been reported that with this year’s late Easter and its four day weekend, followed by the declared holiday on the Friday of the royal wedding and the usual (nurse your massive hangover) bank holiday that falls on the Monday right after, one could take just three days off work (next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and, actually, get eleven consecutive days of vacation time. If that doesn’t turn you into a God-fearing royalist, I don’t know what will!
But, of course, it isn’t all beer, chips and getting burnt to a crisp in Hyde Park.
According to the accountants at RSM Tenon, the highly unusual string of bank holidays could cost the staggering UK economy up to £30 billion. That isn’t just as a result of the days lost due to the consecutive four day weekends, but also many businesses are closing their doors next week because they don’t have enough staff to keep the doors open.
But what about all the tourism and the sale of Pimms that will spike because of the royal nuptials? Well, that doesn’t seem to impress Phil McCabe, media manager for Forum for Private Business, who says: “The succession of bank holidays is coming at precisely the wrong time…There is a serious risk that the UK’s economy could be plunged back into recession.”
Horrors. Well, I for one, am not going to stand idly by and do nothing. I have just de-invited Phil and those gloomy Guses at RSM from our 11 day Royal Easter Egg and Beer Hunt Pimms-athon.