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Public Holidays

Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what specific legislation exists in Scotland for the definition of public holidays and the timing thereof.

Bank holidays are designated under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, but these apply only to bank employees. In Scotland, there is no legislation bearing on general holidays, which by custom and tradition have for long been arranged at local level by the local authorities after taking into account views of interests in their areas.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the number of public holidays in Scotland as compared with other member nations of the EEC.

Seven public holidays are generally observed in Scotland, apart from the additional holiday this year to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee and the May Day holiday to be introduced in 1978. According to information published by the EEC for 1975, the number of generally recognised public holidays in other EEC countries is Belgium 10, Denmark 10, Federal German Republic 10 to 13, France 8 to 10, Netherlands, seven, Ireland seven to eight, Italy 17 and Luxembourg 10.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation guaranteeing a fixed number of general public holidays in Scotland to which everyone would, in normal circumstances, be entitled, and making specific provision as to the authority responsible for fixing the timing of the laid-down number of days.

No. I am not aware of any widespread dissatisfaction with the present practice, whereby holidays are fixed locally. This appears to have advantages, including the avoidance of congestion of the kind which occurs on Bank holidays in England and Wales.