Labour to press ahead with new public holiday plans

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
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Labour will press ahead with plans to introduce new national holidays to mark the patron saints of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, if it wins the next general election, party leader Jeremy Corbyn is to announce.

He will tell a union conference on Monday - St George's Day - that after eight years of "damaging Tory austerity", Britain's workers deserve a day off.

Labour will ask for the support of the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so that the same four holidays can be enjoyed across the United Kingdom.

Under Labour's proposals, UK-wide public holidays will be held on St David's Day (March 1), St Patrick's Day (March 17), St George's Day (April 23) and St Andrew's Day (November 30).

With eight public holidays, the UK has the fewest of any G20 or EU country, Mr Corbyn will tell the annual conference of the Communication Workers Union in Bournemouth.

He will say: "If we win the next election, St George's Day will become a national holiday for Britain's workers. It will be a day where we can all show our pride and celebrate our country's tradition of fairness, inclusivity and social justice.

"Eight years of Tory austerity, which Labour will bring to an end, have had a disastrous effect on our vital public services and workers have paid a heavy price in the cost of living and their working lives.

"We will give our workers four extra days paid holiday.

"The four nations that make up our country are more divided as a result of the damaging and divisive policies of this Conservative government."

Mr Corbyn said the Windrush scandal and the "sickening Go Home vans" showed that the Government's "patriotic posturing" was a "sham".

He will add: "We need to end the Conservative's constant pandering to a rich elite at the top and their attempts to divide the rest of us, creating a 'hostile environment' for people who come to contribute to our country.

"So let me say to the Windrush generation and to everyone who has come to this country to make a contribution: You are welcome. You have equal rights and under Labour you will never be treated like second-class citizens. We will never allow people to be divided on the basis of race or religion.

"Labour's mission of social justice brings people and our nations together.

"Our values of a fair and inclusive society are our country's best values, and those shared values will be celebrated by making St George's Day a national holiday."

Mr Corbyn will also recommit Labour to bring Royal Mail into public ownership.