Many UK firms begin extended holiday shutdown

Hotel News - 22/12/2008

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Heathrow Airport experienced its second-busiest travel day of the year as the holiday travel period began.

Both airports and motorways are anticipated to be quieter over this holiday than in previous years, however, as the credit crunch convinces many Britons to stay at home. Two million fewer motorists are expected on the country’s roads and, according to airports operator BAA, 373,000 fewer air passengers are expected at UK airports, as compared with Christmas of 2007.

In addition, this Christmas break is set to be the longest in 16 years for many thousands of workers who were sent home on extended holiday breaks by cash-strapped employers. Some companies will not reopen until 19 January, including car manufacturers Aston, Ford and Vauxhall.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is estimating that a half million companies will close for the final two weeks of December, making this the longest holiday closure since 1992.

"About 500,000 businesses, which includes consultants and the self-employed, will not work over that period," the FSB chief spokesman, Stephen Alambritis, said. "The motivation is to save money from fuel, heating and not incurring work-related costs such as taxi bills."

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