At the end of last year, I dropped a line to Vince Cable at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) suggesting that it would be better for workers (not to mention better for BIS)if all public holidays were abolished, freeing workers from the tyranny of employer shutdowns on unwelcome dates. Workers would still have their statutory entitlement to 28 days holiday; but they would have more control over when to take those holidays.
BIS replied on 27 January 2011, "Over the years there have been various suggestions from the public for changes to bank holidays, however the current pattern is well established and accepted"
A week later I read in the papers that the government wants to move the May (Day) bank holiday to October. Looks like we have a case of joined-up government here.
My proposal still stands: Abolish the lot.
Public holidays demean workers by making them take days off if their employer is one who decides to shut down for the days decreed by the government (advised by the Church of England's astrologers and the Keepers of Royal Wedding diaries).
Public holidays disrupt public services, at considerable cost to the public, because nowadays it is primarily public sector organisations - town halls and such like - which impose shutdowns on bank holidays. Tesco and my local kebab shop ignore them.
Insofar as public holidays benefit anyone, they always benefit the same people. There is never a day when the shops and restuarants close and the town halls stay open.