Over the holiday weekend, there was media publicity given to how much of a drain public holidays were to the economy. For each one, it had been calculated by a firm of economic forecasters that each holiday “costs” £2.3 billion. How one-sided; how ill-considered and how meaningless was it by those that reported it?
Firstly we have the lowest number of public holidays other than the Netherlands which has the same – compared to our major economic partners. On the logic of the reported facts, Germany which has more holidays should be more worried. Should we get rid of all them to save nearly £18.5 billion a year? How scrooge-like in this year of Dickens!
In an interview with the BBC, the founder of the firm of economic forecasters had the temerity to suggest that holidays had to be paid for either by being more productive or accepting a lower wage. As a publicity seeking load of old horsefeathers, it succeeded for the forecaster. As a solid idea it was shot through with holes and the forecaster didn’t even bother to explain how they arrived at this spurious answer on their own website.
Holidays –first and foremost – give people the chance to recharge their batteries. Secondly, it helps the country in one way by allowing another part of the economy – tourism – to expand and grow and provide employment. (This wasn’t even mentioned by the forecaster so who is to know whether this was taken into account in his figures.) Other service industries such as retailing and leisure do well as people are around to spend. Finally without holidays productivity would actually drop because we would be fed-up, cheesed-off and not very motivated.
Which is how I feel about this tosh-riddled news story that the BBC labored with over the weekend.
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