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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Tory group rejects holidays call
A beach in Newquay
Extra public holidays would boost wellbeing, a policy group was told
A Conservative Party policy group has rejected proposals to create three more bank holidays and extend paid paternity leave to three years.

Other ideas submitted to the "quality of life" review included promoting family life and "tranquility maps" to cut inner-city noise pollution.

But vice-chairman Zac Goldsmith said it was "entirely wrong" to suggest the group would back these policies.

The group is expected to publish its report within the next few weeks.

'Green taxes'

The Quality of Life Challenge, led by former Cabinet minister John Gummer, has looked at thousands of submissions.

Among these was a call for three extra bank holidays, with the public deciding what they should celebrate.

Another submission was received that fathers should get three years' paid paternity leave.

Other ideas put forward are said to include compulsory community service, adverts promoting family life and more environmental taxes.

The TUC's head of economic and social affairs, Adam Lent, said it would have been a "real boost" to its campaign for a nationwide "Community Day" had the Conservatives adopted the proposals for more bank holidays.

But a Conservative Party spokeswoman said: "Categorically, none of these ideas are going to be in the [working group's] report."

She added: "These are not going to happen."

Mr Goldsmith, who is also an environmental campaigner, said reports that the policies might be supported in its report had been "entirely wrong".

He added: "We're due to hand over the full document some time in September, and I would be very happy to discuss any aspect of it then."

In a speech last year, Conservative leader David Cameron said: "Improving our society's sense of well-being is, I believe, the central political challenge of our times."

In another speech to the party's annual conference, he urged delegates to "let sunshine win the day", with the Conservatives becoming the party of optimism.

He added that the party had alienated voters by "banging on" about Europe and tax cuts.

The quality of life group is one of several set up by Mr Cameron.

Last week, the Competitive Challenge review suggested abolishing inheritance tax, which shadow chancellor George Osborne said he would look at "very closely".

Cameron places focus on optimism
01 Oct 06 |  UK Politics

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