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EXTRA BANK HOLIDAY TO GREET THE YEAR 2000

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Millions of people across the United Kingdom will have an extra bank ...
Millions of people across the United Kingdom will have an extra bank

holiday on New Year's Eve 1999, culture secretary Chris Smith

has announced. As well as marking the start of the year 2000, the

bank holiday will give the public a chance to start their new year's

celebrations early.

In a written answer to a parliamentary question Mr Smith said:

'I am pleased to announce that the year 2000 will be heralded by a

one-off additional bank holiday throughout the United Kingdom on

Friday, 31 December 1999. A recent consultation exercise conducted

by the government has confirmed that this decision commands

overwhelming support among the many organisations which responded

and I know that large numbers of people will welcome this opportunity

to prepare for the festivities on new year's eve and new year's day

2000.'

NOTES

1. Bank Holidays are prescribed in schedule 1 to the Banking and

Financial Dealings Act 1971. Powers under Section 1 of the Act

enable the queen to appoint substitute or special bank holidays in any

one year by Royal Proclamation.

2. The secretary of state for culture, media and sport announced

in June last year that the government favoured an additional holiday

on 31 December 1999 to reflect the special significance of the year

2000 in the consciousness of the public, and to allow people time to

prepare for the celebrations.

3. The announcement was followed by a period of consultation in

early 1998, during which key organisations representing local

government, the churches, emergency services and the financial,

business and transport sectors were invited to express their views of the government's proposal. Some 85% of the organisations consulted

agreed with the proposal. The government has therefore decided to

proceed with the additional holiday on new year's eve 1999. This

date is expected to be included in the queen's annual Proclamation of

Bank Holidays, in June 1999. The holiday will apply throughout the

United Kingdom.

4. As well as this additional Bank Holiday, 27 and 28 December

1999 will be Bank Holidays in Scotland, together with 3 and 4 January

2000. These dates, with the exception of 4 January, are subject to

royal proclamation.

5. In the United Kingdom, bank holidays are not prescriptive and

employers are not obliged to allow employees to take paid leave on the

day in question.

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