In Brief

Why May Day bank holiday is set to move in 2020

Government considering switching date in order to mark VE Day anniversary

Ministers are calling for the May Day bank holiday to be moved next year in order to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the date that Winston Churchill officially declared the end of the Second World War.

The Allied forces formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany on 8 May 1945, following six years of conflict that claimed millions of lives. Yet there is currently no formal holiday to recognise Victory in Europe Day.

However, The Times reports that the Government is “poised” to switch the 2020 May Day break from Monday 4 to Friday 8, after Business Secretary Greg Clark suggested the move to Chancellor Philip Hammond.

In a sent to letter to Hammond last week, Clark is reported to have written: “I believe that the country should be allowed to commemorate this great occasion, and to recall those who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War on behalf of us all.

“It would be a tragedy if this date slipped from the minds of the general public.”

This would not be the first such switch: in 1995, the early May bank holiday was moved to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

The Association of School and College Leaders is backing the proposed 2020 date change. The body’s general secretary, Geoff Barton, told the newspaper  that the celebrations would “provide a good opportunity to engage young people in learning and activities about this important historical event”.

But the Daily Mail reports that other groups have “expressed some concern”, including the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which is calling for an additional bank holiday to mark the 75th anniversary.

TUC leader Frances O’Grady said: “May Day and the 75th VE Day anniversary are both special days and celebrating them should not come at the expense of each other.”

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