British business leaders on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to create a permanent extra public holiday from next year to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s record-long reign.

In an open letter to Johnson and finance minister Rishi Sunak, major business lobby group the CBI joined hospitality and tourism bodies in calling for this year’s extraordinary public holiday marking the monarch’s 70-year reign to become an annual fixture.

This despite suggestions it would cost the economy dear, although Britain lags behind European countries France and Germany in its number of annual public holidays.

“As British business leaders, we are supporting the creation of a new annual public holiday — a Thank Holiday — from 2023,” read the letter.

“We ask that you take this opportunity not only to recognise the Queen’s enduring contribution but the service and kindness of millions in our communities, especially during the pandemic.”

The signatories said they “are convinced that the benefits of a new holiday would outweigh the costs, as well as serving as a demonstration of our national values and compassion.

“As a business community, we stand ready to work with you to achieve this,” they concluded.

The queen, who last week turned 96, will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee over a long holiday weekend in early June.

Responding to the letter, Johnson’s official spokesman said he was unaware of plans to make this year’s special national holiday permanent.

He added that each public holiday “presents a considerable and significant cost” to the UK economy.

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© Agence France-Presse