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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 August 2007, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Call for new 'hero' bank holiday
Gordon Brown on holiday
Gordon Brown has said "unsung heroes" should be honoured
Gordon Brown should create a new bank holiday in November to thank community heroes, a think tank has urged.

The Institute for Public Policy Research says the day may also help his goal of building a British identity.

Spokeswoman Kate Stanley said: "We need a day when people give something back to their communities," adding that the day would celebrate British diversity.

But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the proposals could cost the economy up to 6bn.

The holiday would fall on the first Monday after Remembrance Sunday and the IPPR said it should be the date in the calendar when the government handed out all of its honours.

Ms Stanley, IPPR director of research, said: "Awarding civic honours on a single national day would be a national 'thank you' for the many thousands of citizens who go out of their way to help others."

By choosing this date, the Power of Belonging report said the new national day could build on an existing commemoration, rather than impose something artificial.

It said careful consultation with the Royal British Legion should take place and the day should not distract from Remembrance Sunday.

'Substantial cost'

Neil Carberry, head of employment policy at the CBI, said celebrating national heroes was a positive idea, but there was "no reason" this could not be done on an existing bank holiday.

"Statutory holiday entitlement is being increased from 20 to 28 days over the next two years, which will be a big improvement for many workers but comes at a substantial cost to firms," he said.

"Offering staff an extra bank holiday would cost the economy up to 6 billion on top."

The TUC has previously called for a bank holiday in October to encourage more voluntary work.

Britain is almost unique in Europe in having no bank holidays between the summer and Christmas.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Public opinion on extra bank holidays



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