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The Queen’s passing: Readers’ questions on banks, retail and money during the period of mourning

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has sadly passed away. With a period of mourning, and the date of the State Funeral to be confirmed, consumers already have questions about how they will be affected.

YourMoney.com are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to King Charles III and the royal family.

Out of respect, we will minimise publication today, but wanted to relay and help clarify some of the questions consumers already have relating to the period of mourning and the State Funeral.

The date of the State Funeral has been announced. It will take place on Monday 19 September and the government has confirmed this date will be a national bank holiday across the United Kingdom.

The government said this “will allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to Her Majesty and commemorate Her reign, while marking the final day of the period of national mourning”.

This bank holiday will operate in the same way as other bank holidays, and there is no statutory entitlement to time off. Employers may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement.

The government added:  “The bank holiday will be a unique national moment. The government cannot interfere in existing contractual arrangements between employers and workers. However, we would expect that many workers will be able to take the day off on the bank holiday. We also expect employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work.”

Schools will be closed on the date of the State Funeral, with the government saying “we are not asking them to remain open on the day of the bank holiday.”

During the mourning period, people are asking whether banks and retail shops will be open or whether they will be operating revised hours. Elsewhere, consumers are wondering whether they can get married at registry offices or if religious ceremonies can still go ahead.

Meanwhile, questions have also been raised relating to money and stamps, whether those depicting the Queen’s head will still be accepted as legal tender.

Further, the planned postal and rail strikes have also been cancelled out of respect. Here’s everything we know so far.

Rail and postal strikes cancelled

The planned strike action by postal workers today (Friday 9 September) has been cancelled.

Communication Workers Union general secretary, Dave Ward, said: “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen, and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off planned strike action.”

Meanwhile The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has also called off upcoming strike action.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.

“The planned railway strike action on 15 and 17 September is suspended.

“We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”

Interest rate decision

The next decision on the Bank of England base rate was due at midday on Thursday 15 September. However, a statement from the Bank of England, read: “In light of the period of national mourning now being observed in the United Kingdom, the September 2022 meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee has been postponed for a period of one week. The Committee’s decision will be announced at 12pm on 22 September.”

Money and stamps

The Bank of England, said: “As the first monarch to feature on Bank of England banknotes, the Queen’s iconic portraits are synonymous with some of the most important work we do.

“Current banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender. A further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed.”

The Royal Mail confirmed unused stamps that have already been issued remain valid for use. These include definitive stamps (those that show the Queen Elizabeth’s head against a plain background) and special stamps.

“As previously announced, following the introduction of barcodes to everyday stamps, these stamps remain valid until the end of January 2023,” it said.

It added: “We will announce future stamp issues at the appropriate time. We will consult Buckingham Palace in the usual way before making any further announcements.”

Banks and building societies

The Building Societies Association said at this early stage, members are awaiting further information and guidance about the date and arrangements for the funeral but it will provide more information about possible closures.

Council offices, public buildings, businesses and sporting events

The Local Government Association said it is awaiting guidance from the government relating to the running of services during the State Funeral.

An update from government, read: “There is no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the National Mourning period. Depending on the nature and location of their business and the tone of planned events, some businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the State Funeral, however this is at the discretion of individual businesses.

“Public services will continue as usual, although there may be some changes to service availability. Further guidance on any potential considerations relating to the day of the State Funeral will be issued if needed.

“Public museums, galleries or similar venues are not obliged to close during the National Mourning period. Organisations may choose to close on the day of the State Funeral, however there is no obligation to do so and this is at the discretion of individual organisations.”

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “Retailers are taking their lead from Government and are choosing to mark the Queen’s passing in ways they deem appropriate for their staff and customers.”

It added that customers should check individual retailer websites for the latest information.