COUNCIL workers in Inverclyde are to be given an extra day off to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Instead of following the advice of the UK Government, local authority bosses have decided to give staff and schools the day off on Friday May 8 next year off as an additional holiday.

Council bosses have planned a weekend of events to mark the date when the Allied forces claimed victory in the war against the Nazis.

But workers will still get their public holiday on the first Monday in May as well.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said: “Rather than simply move that public holiday, councillors have decided that in Inverclyde we will retain the public holiday on the Monday and will also commemorate VE Day on the Friday as an additional day of annual leave and closure of offices and council facilities.

“This will allow Inverclyde residents, employees and service users to continue to mark the traditional May Day public holiday and to commemorate VE Day 75."

It is believed Inverclyde Council is the first council in the UK to give their staff the day off in addition to the May Day holiday.

Union officials have supported the move.

The district will join the rest of the country in marking the day when the Germans surrendered following the death of Hitler.

Councillor McCabe said: “As an area Inverclyde has a strong and long association with our armed services and councillors are fully supportive of commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

"The year 2020 marks a significant anniversary as the end of the war in Europe, it is also important that we continue to mark May Day that year.”

The council will now seek approval from the Scottish Government to change the school year to accommodate an additional day to commemorate VE Day in 2020.

Inverclyde Council will encourage local groups and organisations to get involved in commemorations locally from Friday May 8 to Sunday May 10.

Gourock Highland Games, which takes place on the same weekend, will become a major focal point for VE Day on the final day of celebrations.

Local Municipal Buildings officials will work with partners at the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association to mark the occasion.