Council to weigh up cost of day off for Queen’s jubilee

The residents of Mountcastle Green enjoy the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002
The residents of Mountcastle Green enjoy the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002
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GIVING council staff the day off for the Queen’s diamond jubilee would land the authority with a £320,000 bill, it has emerged.

Councillors will next week take the decision on whether to approve an extra holiday and day off school on June 5, 2012.

It is estimated the cost of allowing the additional day off will be up to £320,000, although that figure will be considerably higher when the cost of lost productivity is taken into account.

However, city business leaders said a public holiday would boost morale and productivity for the workforce.

Local authorities in Scotland will decide their own options for the jubilee, with Glasgow already planning a long weekend from Friday, June 1, until Tuesday, June 5.

However, North Ayrshire has ruled out a day off for the event, while Highland Council is proposing a normal working day.

If approved, most of the Capital’s council staff – which number just under 18,000 –would have the day off. Certain employees, such as social workers, would form a skeleton staff, with the costs expected to be between £250,000 and £320,000.

If approved, teachers – and therefore pupils – will be among those who have the day off to enjoy the celebrations.

Council leader Jenny Dawe said a balance was needed and that the local authority would ask the unions how keen their members are for the day off.

She said: “There is a balance to be struck with celebrating this historic event and managing our services. We have asked the unions for their views on this matter before we come to a decision.”

For the royal wedding in April the Scottish Government wrote to council chiefs saying that not allowing staff a day off could have an “adverse impact for morale”. The Chamber of Commerce said if approved the holiday would provide a break from work and a morale boost for council workers.

Spokesman Graham Bell said: “As one of the countries in Europe with the least public holidays we really shouldn’t be worried about a few more, so we welcome the opportunity for days off for St Andrew’s Day, the royal wedding and the jubilee.”

He added: “If people have more time to have fun and celebrate they become more productive. It can be a very good thing for the workforce.”

The policy and strategy committee will decide on Tuesday.