During these short grey January days, thoughts invariably turn to the year ahead and in particular holidays. But in cash-strapped Britain the question on many parents’ lips this year may not be “Where shall we go on holiday?” but rather “Can we even afford to go on holiday?”

It’s long been known that holidays cost more at peak times (ie school holidays) than at other times which is reasonable – up to a point. It is a simple case of supply and demand. It stops becoming reasonable when that gap widens to the point where prices are exploitatively high in August. I am looking at a brochure for one of Britain’s leading holiday parks in which a break costing £399 in June costs £829 in August.

Up until this year it had been possible for parents of primary age children to work around this by asking the school for some time off. Many schools would offer up to 10 days discretionary leave enabling parents on a budget to give their kids a holiday – but it was not a popular policy with everyone. Many teachers are opposed to taking kids out of school during the term, arguing that it is disruptive to both the child and the rest of the class when they have to catch up. The Government agrees it seems. As of this school year, a new policy has come in forbidding schools from granting leave for holidays any more. In fact any parent who now takes a child out of school during the term time faces a possible fine.

I am completely opposed to this policy as it is going to deny countless families the opportunities for holidays they might otherwise have had. I have found holidays to be enormously beneficial for my two children, giving them the opportunity to explore and enjoy all sorts of new experiences which far outweigh a missed week of schooling. Holidays are also the time when memories are made. Although my holidays as a child amounted to no more than one week per year, I would say as many as 50 per cent of my memories under the age of 10 are from those holidays.

All of this wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the holiday operators could smooth their prices out a little throughout the year but this is unlikely. They are in business to make money, after all. There was a petition on the internet recently to get this debated in Parliament, but I can’t see anything changing. There would be too much opposition. For a start, it wouldn’t be popular with the majority of non-parents who enjoy their cheap breaks during term time. So what can be done? Well I am not denying my children a holiday, so if it means six months of self-sacrifice and no nights out to pay for it, then I shall have to bite the bullet and pay the inflated prices.

I’d be very interested to hear other people’s views on this subject so please write in and let me know.