HC Deb 21 February 1949 vol 461 cc1662-4

6.49 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Younger)

I beg to move: That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, in pursuance of the provisions of Section 2 of the Summer Time Act, 1947, praying that the Summer Time Order, 1949, be made in the form of the draft laid before this House on 1st February. The dates proposed for summer time this year are from 3rd April to 30th October. That compares with the 1948 period of from 14th March to 31st October. It is therefore a reduction of about three weeks at the spring end of the period. The House will be well aware of the arguments for and against in this rather difficult matter. There is a conflict of interests which can never be resolved wholly satisfactorily, but one hopes that the modification which has been made this year will prove acceptable.

6.50 p.m.

Major Sir Thomas Dugdale (Richmond)

As the Under-Secretary has said, there is bound to be a conflict of interests on this subject, but on this occasion we do not propose to vote against this particular order. The Government are making haste slowly in this matter. Two years ago we had Double Summer Time and on this occasion we have three weeks less Summer Time from the beginning of the period.

I wish to remind the Home Secretary and the Government when they are deciding on the dates for Summer Time in the future to remember the agricultural industry, and especially those who live north of the Tweed. Owing to the damp climate it does make a considerable difficulty for farmers in the northern part of Great Britain when this Summer Time period runs after the first Sunday in October. The beginning is not so disadvantageous to the agricultural industry, but if the weather happens to be bad, and there has been difficulty in getting in the harvest, the last two weeks in October mean a considerable hardship to those endeavouring to produce the maximum amount of food from the land.

The right course, as soon as the Government can see their way to adopt it, would be to return to the statutory dates for Summer Time which were in force before the war, and which extended Summer Time from the third Sunday in April to the first Sunday in October. If that is their goal and ambition we shall not delay the House further in discussing this order this evening.

Question put, and agreed to.

To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.

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