An extra bank holiday is being mooted as part of the London 2012 Olympics in a bid to make the whole country feel part of the games.
The August bank holiday would be extended to include the Tuesday, giving the public four consecutive days off work, in between the culmination of the Olympics and the start of the Paralympics.
The idea of a national holiday is in line with the strategy being followed by Locog, the organisers of the London 2012 games, trying to get the whole nation to embrace the Olympic spirit.
It was announced last week that a series of parties throughout the UK would be held at the same time as a free concert and celebration in The Mall on August 24. The Visa-sponsored party is being thrown to mark the handover of the Olympic flag to London, represented by Mayor Boris Johnson at the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Games.
It is believed the plan for an extra bank holiday was first suggested during the bid process for the 2012 Games but was never explicitly mentioned in the bid document in case the International Olympic Committee felt it might be too difficult to deliver. A new bank holiday requires a Royal Proclamation to be implemented.
It is thought that any proposal for an additional day in 2012 stands a good chance of success, as it is also the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee that year. The most recent examples of special bank holidays were for the Royal Wedding in 1981, the Millennium in 1999 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. However, if current proposals being considered by Gordon Brown for a bank holiday to honour the armed forces were implemented, a further holiday in 2012 would be much less likely.