HC Deb 04 February 1969 vol 777 cc191-2
12. Mr. Speed

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will arrange for his National Consultative Council to study the impact of British Standard Time upon the construction industry.

15. Mr. Donald Williams

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what further representations he has received from the National Federation of Building Trades Employers about British Standard Time and the experience of building employers of its effect; and what reply he has sent.

Mr. Mellish

At the request of the N.F.B.T.E. the effects of B.S.T. will be discussed at the next meeting of my National Consultative Council for Building and Civil Engineering which will take place on 19th March, 1969.

Mr. Speed

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that nearly all sections of the construction industry, to say nothing of the general public, are opposed to B.S.T.?

Mr. Mellish

I can confirm that in particular the N.F.B.T.E. is certainly bringing to my attention what it regards as the disastrous effects of B.S.T. It is putting forward a paper making its case conclusive, from its point of view. When that happens, I shall most certainly approach my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and present its views.

Mr. Williams

I am glad to hear the Minister make this statement. May I assure him that all building employers are totally against British Standard Time?

Mr. Mellish

I accept that, certainly in the construction industry, I have heard nothing but complaints about B.S.T. Having said that, let us not lose sight of the argument that there is another point of view from people in other industries.

Mr. Heffer

If my right hon. Friend finds that the evidence is so overwhelming that there should be a change, would he give us an assurance that he will draw this to the attention of the appropriate Minister with a view to having the three years cut down to at least one year, which is what many of us suggested?

Mr. Mellish

I can give this assurance, that after my meeting on 19th March, when I hope I shall see statistical evidence produced by the employers—and I very much hope that the unions will help in this matter—I will see my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and put the case as strongly as I can for the industry I represent.

Miss Harvie Anderson

Will the Minister accept, since he is hesitant through being a Sassenach in this matter, that B.S.T. is an even greater disaster in Scotland? Will he make special representations for advice from those concerned north of the Border?

Mr. Mellish

Yes, I give an undertaking to the hon. Lady that I will take that into account.