Wednesday, 23 November 2011

St Piran's Day holiday could be worth £35m to Cornwall - and it's the right thing to campaign for

The local papers are reporting the study carried out by Cornwall Council which shows that a St Piran's Day bank holiday could be worth up to £35 million to the local economy.

But, as a tweet colleague of mine points out - we shouldn't be doing it for the money. We should be campaigning for St Piran's Day to be a public holiday in Cornwall because it is the right thing to do.

This issue came up because the government is considering moving the May Day bank holiday. They have held a consultation with the options being put forward including 'Trafalgar Day' in October and St George's Day in April (which just happens also to be my birthday). They said they were open to other options however.

The Liberal Democrats put a motion to Cornwall Council back in March arguing that if there was a change then it should be to March 5th (St Piran's Day) in Cornwall. The matter has been considered for some time and the business case for a change was commissioned because of concern that it would lead to a financial loss for local businesses.

The report shows very clearly that a St Piran's Day bank holiday is good for our culture, good for tourism and good for Cornwall. If the bank holiday across the rest of the UK is moved to Trafalgar Day but Cornwall adopts St Piran's Day then it would be worth an extra £35 million to our economy. Other combinations show less of a boost and only one (the UK on St George's Day, Cornwall on St Piran's Day) shows any harm.

We don't know what the government's next move will be, but this at least proves the doubters wrong.

(That a St Piran's Day bank holiday could be worth more than ten times the boost to the Cornish economy of a 'Stadium for Cornwall' is an interesting aside)

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