HC Deb 04 February 1965 vol 705 cc1253-4
2. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider continuing summer time throughout the year in order to encourage trade between the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. George Thomas)

My right hon. and learned Friend recognises that the adoption of permanent summer time would bring some advantages in trading with Western European countries and that many people would welcome it for other reasons. It would, however, inconvenience certain major industries, such as farming, and would mean that during a part of the winter more people, including school children would have to leave home in the dark. My right hon. and learned Friend proposes to keep the matter under review.

Mr. Tilney

Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the difference in lunch times in the winter months means that the period for business in this country and countries on the other side of the North Sea and the English Channel becomes very limited and that telephone lines get clogged, to the detriment of British exports?

Mr. Thomas

My right hon. and learned Friend is well aware of this difficulty. It is one of the matters which he is bearing in mind at the present time.

Mr. Ronald Bell

Would the hon. Gentleman's right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that there are two sides to this question and that the advantage to trade with Europe might be extremely limited? Will he bear in mind that in the United States of America they seem to do quite a lot of trade with themselves although they have three time-belts and that the western side of the country, with which he is not unacquainted, by virtue of its longitude enjoys throughout the year a considerable period of this so-called daylight saving, and will he strictly limit this monkeying about with the clock?

Mr. Thomas

My right hon. and learned Friend is bearing that in mind also.