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YouGov Omnibus reveals that the prospect of extra days off is not enough to encourage most Brits to back making patron saint’s days UK-wide bank holidays

On St George’s Day last year, Jeremy Corbyn pledged that a Labour government would make St George’s Day, St David’s Day, St Andrew’s Day and St Patrick’s Day public holidays for the whole UK.

Currently St Andrew’s Day is only a public holiday in Scotland, as is St Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland, while St George’s Day and St David’s Day are not marked by a day off in England and Wales respectively.

You might have thought that the prospect of extra days off would be appealing to most Brits, but newly released YouGov Omnibus research suggests this is not the case.

In each of the four home nations of the UK, YouGov asked whether people thought each of the four patron saint’s days should be: a bank holiday for the whole UK, a bank holiday in the patron saint’s nation only, or not a bank holiday at all.

In all nations, and across all patron saint’s days, the most commonly supported option was for each patron saint’s day to be observed as a bank holiday in the saint’s specific nation only. So, for instance, 49% of English people think St George’s Day should be a bank holiday in England only, compared to 24% who think it should be a bank holiday for the full UK, while 18% don’t think it should be a bank holiday for anyone.

While you might expect each nation to want the whole country to share in their patron saint’s day, this isn’t the case. So for instance, while 63% of Scots think St Andrew’s Day should be a bank holiday in Scotland only, and 13% think it should be a bank holiday for the whole UK, almost identical proportions of Scots think St George’s Day should be an English-only bank holiday (60%) or a whole-UK bank holiday (13%).

The Northern Irish are noticeably more supportive of patron saint’s days in general being classified as bank holidays than people in the other home nations. While 86-88% of Northern Irish people think any given patron saint’s day should be celebrated as a bank holiday in some form, the same is true of only 73-77% of Scottish people, 72-75% of Welsh people and 69-72% of English people.

Photo: PA

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