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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 17:43 GMT
MSPs approve St Andrew's day bill
Dennis Canavan with Saltire
Independent MSP Dennis Canavan is the driving force behind the bill
A bill to make St Andrew's Day a day of national celebration in Scotland has been passed in the Scottish Parliament.

Falkirk West independent MSP Dennis Canavan, who first introduced the bill two years ago, agreed to a compromise with the Scottish Executive.

Instead of a full public holiday, MSPs agreed to make 30 November a voluntary public holiday.

First Minister Jack McConnell said he wanted the day to focus more on celebrating Scotland.

Mr Canavan originally wanted the 30 November to be declared an additional full public holiday.

'lost' business concern

But he was persuaded by the first minister to accept a compromise under which banks and other organisations will be legally allowed, but not compelled, to close.

However, they will be expected to give their staff the day off in exchange for one of their local holidays.

The change came following Mr McConnell's concerns about the cost of an extra holiday in lost production.

But Mr Canavan dismissed claims it would be bad for the economy as "absurd" and said business leaders should see the event as an opportunity and not a threat.

The Independent MSP said he expected the holiday to grow in years to come, adding: "If St Andrew's Day was properly recognised at home as a national holiday that would enhance those international celebrations and help promote Scotland on the world stage."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Jack McConnell gives his backing to St Andrew's Day



SEE ALSO
First minister backs holiday call
11 Sep 06 |  Scotland
Business leaders oppose holiday
17 Jul 06 |  Scotland
Holyrood rejects national holiday
06 Oct 05 |  Scotland
MSPs consider St Andrew holiday
07 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Holiday plan hopes for next year
30 Nov 04 |  Scotland

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