The Effects of the Platinum Jubilee on UK Businesses

Platinum Jubilee on UK Businesses

The recent 4 day weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will have come as a welcome relief to many businesses after a challenging few years. For those in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors the extra bank holiday will have provided a much needed boost after the effects of the Covid pandemic. 

The UK is expected to spend £408m on the Platinum Jubilee, with £281.5m going on souvenirs memorabilia and gifts, according to the Centre for Retail Research. Consumers will have sought out items to mark the jubilee, and for those organising street parties, bunting and flags are a must. In addition to this people have been spending on cakes and sweets to share at street parties. Many will have visited local pubs and restaurants, or taken a break away.

Licensing hours were extended for pubs and restaurants from 11pm to 1am, and the industry is expecting to have pulled 90m pints over the 4 day break. 

Home Secretary, Priti Patel said: “Over the extended bank holiday weekend, we will be able to raise a glass to toast Her Majesty’s incredible service to our country, while also providing a boost to the hospitality industry after a challenging couple of years.”

How much do bank holidays cost the economy?

It is estimated that every bank holiday costs the British economy £2.3billion in lost productivity according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research think tank in 2021.

For while hospitality, leisure and retail businesses will have benefitted, many other businesses, especially B2B companies will have lost a day’s trading.  Many small businesses are still struggling to get going after multiple lockdowns, so losing a day can have a significant impact.

Alan Jenkins, MD of exhibition stand contractor Quadrant2Design confirmed this, he said “We have had an incredibly difficult couple of years, all events were cancelled so our business ground to a halt overnight. We only survived due to our sizeable reserves which we burnt through. Now things are busy again but we need to make up for the money we lost during the pandemic so things are still tight, we need all the trading days we can possibly have in order to rebuild the business”.

A big boost to retail, hospitality and leisure

The Covid pandemic had a devastating effect on businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors, with individual small businesses making losses of £40,000 on average. Compared to the average loss to small businesses of £22,000. The Platinum Jubilee will have given them a boost just when they need it the most. Holiday periods are vital to these businesses as they represent a significant increase in income.

People will have used the long weekend as a chance to enjoy a break, mix with family and friends and attend celebratory events. Spending on food and drink is likely to be up as well as money spent on Jubilee mementos. 

Many pubs have boosted sales over the weekend by hosting outdoor events to celebrate the Jubilee. Outdoor bars, catering and music have all been used to draw in the crowds.  London and Windsor have seen enormous crowds as well-wishers poured in from all over the world.

More people out spending money, will have boosted the economy. VisitEngland estimated that 5.3 million people will have taken an overnight break at some point over the weekend, while others will have taken advantage of the extended pub opening times.

CEO of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, stated: “We welcome that the Government has seen the importance of extending licensing hours for an occasion as momentous as the Platinum Jubilee Weekend, when pubs and bars are likely to be a focus of community celebrations.”

Will it become permanent?

Many individuals and organisations are calling for the extra bank holiday to be made permanent. Business leaders – including the Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden and ITV’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall – have launched a campaign calling for the government to look at the wider benefits of making the extra bank holiday an annual feature. The idea also has the support of the Confederation of British Industry, Hospitality UK and the archbishop of Canterbury.

Supporters want to make the day a “Thank Holiday” with an opportunity for communities to get together, dress up, share food, drink and play party games.  Maybe also give gifts to those they want to thank.

However, No 10 has said that this is unlikely to happen due to the cost to the economy.  Boris Johnson’s spokesperson stated that it was a “unique” event, adding: “I’m not aware of any plans to make it permanent.” He said that every bank holiday “presents a considerable and significant cost to our economy and therefore each proposal would have to be considered carefully on that basis”

However, the government’s official impact assessment suggested there could be a boost for the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors, while also recognising that there could be benefits for mental health and wellbeing.

The campaign to make it permanent is ongoing and it hasn’t been ruled out by the government so time will tell.

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