HC Deb 26 February 1947 vol 433 cc2077-8
The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

The Government have decided to introduce legislation to adopt an extension of single summer time in 1947 from i6th March to 2nd November and the introduction of double summer time from 13th April to 10th August. The Bill, which will be presented tomorrow, will also provide that in subsequent years the periods of summer time and double summer time may be specified by Order in Council. In view of the urgency of the subject the Government hope that the House will be prepared to deal with the Bill expeditiously.

The recent stoppages of work make it necessary that every opportunity should be afforded for increased output during the coming months and for the maximum production from the fuel supply available. The extension of the periods of summer time will in itself -result in some saving in fuel, but the most important consideration is that it will facilitate arrangements for staggering the hours of industry, and for more work to be done in outdoor industries such as building, shipbuilding and repairing, dock work and railway repairing work.

In reaching this decision the Government have given full weight to the considerations affecting agriculture, and they recognise that this decision will be unwelcome to those engaged in this very important industry. They have, however, been forced to the conclusion that in the present critical situation the advantages which I have mentioned must be regarded as paramount.

Mr. Eden

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that he has been in consultation with the agricultural interests and their representatives as Far as possible, and that the dates which he has selected inflict the minimum amount of hardship, for some hardship must be inflicted by the decision the Government, have taken?

Mr. Ede

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture has been in touch with the agricultural community and with their appropriate representatives. They are, of course, as we all know from experience in the past, opposed to this suggestion, but my right hon. Friend assures me that they recognise the national situation and in the circumstances of the times they do not press their protests.