The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will cost the country’s economy £5 billion by creating consecutive four-day weekends in April, according to businesses.
Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that the nation would be given an extra bank holiday to celebrate the marriage, which will take place at Westminster Abbey on Friday, April 29. It means Britain will be open for business on only three days between April 22 and May 2, because Easter is the weekend before the wedding, and the May Day bank holiday is the following Monday.
Employers said on Tuesday that small businesses in particular would suffer because of lost sales, while others warned that some companies would effectively be shut down for the 11-day period because many staff would take the three-day week as annual leave.
There were also concerns that some workers could call in sick for the three working days to give themselves a week off. Stephen Alambritis, of Federation of Small Businesses, said the extra bank holiday could not have come at a worse time.
“This is a real area of concern. After the hike in VAT in January, which could really slow consumer demand, many will be looking to a really strong Easter to get their business going,” the Telegraph quoted Alambritis as saying.
“But there will be a real temptation for workers not to bother going in to work [in the week of the royal wedding]. It will be a three-day week and it could see many businesses just shut down,” he said.
Kate Middleton’s parents have offered £100,000 towards their daughter’s fairytale wedding with Prince William, it has emerged. Michael Middleton and wife Carole were determined to pay their way for the Westminster Abbey celebration. A senior St James’s Palace aide said that the family had been “extremely generous and keen to contribute”.
“They are more than prepared to hand over a six-figure sum,” said a source.
“They always expected to fork out for Kate’s wedding and had sensibly put substantial funds aside for the event”.