HC Deb 22 July 1968 vol 769 cc13-5
15. Mr. Eyre

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what studies he has initiated into the effect on productivity in the building industry of the introduction of British Standard Time; and what have been the findings of those studies.

16. Mr. Waddington

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what esimate he has made of the loss in productivity on building sites as a result of the introduction of British Standard Time; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellish

None, Sir.

Mr. Eyre

Does this mean that no account has been taken of the difficulties of site working in darkness? If as a result of this local builders and their operatives change their working hours, will not they add to the peak hour traffic load of office workers? How will this help productivity?

Mr. Mellish

On the one hand, I am constantly being asked by hon. Members opposite to stop sending out questionaires and forms to the building industry; and I am trying to comply with their request. On the other hand, I am being asked for more information about this. The only way to get it is by asking the building industry for it. No one in the industry is complaining to me. I do not know why the hon. Gentleman keeps complaining.

Mr. Waddington

Does not the Minister agree that the greater proportion of accidents in the building industry takes place in the early hours of the morning in winter? Is not he concerned that the introduction of British Standard Time will result in an increase in the accident rate?

Mr. Mellish

British Standard Time was not introduced as an arbitrary decision on the part of the Government. There were discussions with industries. The matter was debated on the Floor of the House. The majority of those involved favoured it. There is to be a three-year experimental period. At the end of that time I assume that there will be some statistics to justify either its continuation or its abolition. It is too early yet.

Mr. Heffer

What consultations did my right hon. Friend have with the Home Secretary? Does not he realise that there will be an increased cost of building as a result of the introduction of artificial light?

Mr. Mellish

At the time that British Standard Time was being discussed there was consultation between the Ministers responsible for all Departments concerned and, in my case, consultations with industry as a whole. Even in Scotland there was a majority in favour of this —only a very small majority, but nevertheless a majority. [Interruption.] Because there seem to have been more complaints about the effect of this on Scotland made by hon. Members opposite than there have been complaints about any other region.