Wednesday, June 23, 1999 Published at 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Extra millennium holiday confirmed
Revellers can enjoy an extra holiday this year
New Year's Eve this year will be an extra one-off Bank Holiday, the Queen has proclaimed.
The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 enables the Queen to appoint substitute or special Bank Holidays in any one year by Royal Proclamation.
The Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, said the extra holiday would give people time to get ready for the millennium celebrations.
It was proposed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is in charge of the government's preparations for the millennium celebrations.
"This holiday will take its place alongside the emerging range of exciting activities that will take place during the first weekend of the year 2000 across the UK, many of which will benefit from support through grants of Lottery money being made available by the Millennium Commission," said Mr Smith.
In June 1997, Mr Smith said the government favoured an additional holiday on December 31 1999 to reflect the special significance of the year 2000 in the consciousness of the public and to give people time to prepare for the celebrations.
Key organisations representing local government, the Churches, emergency services and financial, business and transport sectors were invited to express their views on the proposal during a consultation period.
A total of 85% of the organisations consulted agreed with the proposal, and last year the government said it intended to proceed with the additional holiday and the date would be included in the Queen's annual proclamation of Bank Holidays.