Costly Bank Holidays
Though shops and tourist destinations benefit from bank holidays, it cost the economy £19 bn annually.

Bank holidays in Britain are costing the economy £19 billion annually, according to research by the economic think tank, Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

According to CEBR, for the service sector dependent Britain, each holiday costs the economy £2.3 billion. They think that if bank holidays were scrapped, £19 billion would be added to the coffers every year.

"We have done some maths on this and about 45 per cent of the economy suffers, the offices, the factories, the building sites where people tend not to go to work on bank holiday," said Douglas McWilliams, of the CEBR, during BBC Breakfast.

Though there are areas which are benefiting out of bank holidays, the loss is far higher than that of the profit.

"The areas that have lost productivity are about three times bigger than the areas that benefit," said McWilliams.

"About 15 per cent of the economy, shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes and visitor attractions, they actually do well out of the bank holiday, it's a mixed thing," he added.

There are nine holidays in 2012 in Britain with different dates for different regions. This year, there are five holidays between Easter and June taking into account the extra holiday for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Comparing Britain's work hours with that of South Korea, CEBR pointed out that the South Koreans work 500 hours more per year than British workers. An average British employee works for 1,647 hours in a year compared to their counterparts in South Korea who work for 2,191 per year.

"One of the reasons why we work such short hours is our bank holidays," the Daily Mail quoted Daniel Solomon of CEBR as saying.

"The two Easter bank holidays we are all currently enjoying come with a price tag of about £4.7 billion," he added.

According to Solomon, loss to the sectors such as construction and office are far more than the sectors that are gaining during bank holidays.

Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, also warned of shrink in GDP in the second quarter of 2012 due to the number of bank holidays, reported the BBC.