HC Deb 22 April 1947 vol 436 cc799-800
36. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has considered the resolution, a copy of which has been sent to him, passed at a recent meeting of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland demanding the immediate withdrawal of the application of British double summer time from Scotland; and what reply he has made thereto.

Mr. Westwood

Yes, Sir, I have considered the resolution to which my hon. Friend refers, and I replied to the Union's letter last Thursday. I assured them that the difficulties of farmers in Scotland are fully appreciated and that the decision to introduce the Bill which was recently passed was taken only when the Government were satisfied that material advantages would accrue on balance in the national interest. I indicated that no alteration in the periods of summer and double summer time as fixed for 1947 by the recent Act could be made without fresh legislation, of which I could hold out no prospect in the circumstances.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that the farmers and others are convinced that double summer time is not an advantage but a disadvantage to agriculture in Scotland; and could he not arrange to have a meeting with the farmers and have a full and free discussion on this matter with them, when, I am quite sure, they would be able to convince him that it is not an advantage?

Mr. Snadden

Is it not a fact that the National Farmers' Union in Scotland were at no time asked for their views on double summer time as was alleged by the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he introduced the Bill into Parliament?

Mr. Westwood

I do not know what was alleged by the Home Secretary, but I do know that they were consulted and I know that ultimately they realised—I do not say that they ever accepted—that we were facing a national situation that required certain action to be taken. This House has now passed the legislation and I have already intimated that there is no possibility of repealing this legislation this Session.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

In view of the fact that this has not been found to be practicable, why not withdraw it quickly? If a thing is found to be bad, surely, it can be withdrawn in one day?

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