Ukip leader Nigel Farage vows to make St George’s Day a bank holiday

In a pre-election promise he also said he wanted the Welsh to have a day to celebrate their nation's patron St David

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The Independent Online

Nigel Farage has vowed to make St George’s Day an extra bank holiday.

The Ukip leader promised an extra day off to celebrate England’s patron saint, as well as another to promote Wales’ St David, in an interview with The Daily Express.

Mr Farage said it was unfair that Scottish and Irish residents were able to celebrate their patron saints, while the Welsh and English could not, and said he would brin gin changes making the 23 April a public bank holiday for St George.

“Surely it’s only fair for us to have a day off to celebrate our own patron saints too?” He asked.

St George, born into a noble Christian family in what is now modern Turkey, was a Roman soldier. He was martyred after he refused to follow orders systematically persecuting the Christian population of the region.

“We’d like to see St George’s Day and St David’s Day become national days of celebration, both in recognition of the significance of the countries, and to boost consumer spending and tourism, which will make up for money lost from people having the day off,” he added.

 

St Patrick’s Day, 17 March, is widely celebrated and is already a public holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland – as well as much of the world.

In 2006, the Scottish parliament recognised 30 November as a “voluntary public holiday” in honour of the Scottish patron saint St Andrew.

Despite cross-party support in the Welsh Assembly for the creation of a similar holiday in Wales in 2000, a 2007 petition to the British parliament was struck down by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr Farage has claimed that under him, the Welsh could celebrate 1 March as a public holiday.

Estimates surrounding the cost of public holidays vary widely.

According to an April 2012 report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research, a bank holiday can cost the economy £2.4billion.

But an assessment released by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport also in 2012 – incidentally the year of the Diamond Jubilee – claimed the extra 5th June public holiday could bring in £1.1bn to the economy.

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