By Claire West

Commenting on plans announced in the government's tourism strategy to move the May Day bank holiday to either late April or October, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'There is strong support for an extra public holiday as the UK has the stingiest allocation in Europe.

'But messing around with established bank holidays will disrupt people's schedules and create more red tape for employers.

'Moving the May Day bank holiday forward a week or so is not about bringing forward the tourist season - which starts around Easter anyway - but all about satisfying Tory backwoodsmen who have a bee in their bonnet because of May Day's association with international labour day. In fact May Day is a traditional British celebration dating back to the fourth century.

'The government should rise above this backbench grudge, stop re-arranging the deckchairs and introduce an extra bank holiday in late October instead.'