HL Deb 21 March 1922 vol 49 cc637-9

Amendment reported (according to Order).

Advance of time during certain period.

1.—(1) The time for general purposes in Great Britain shall, during the period of summer time, be one hour in advance of Greenwich mean time.

(2) Wherever any reference to a point of time occurs in any enactment, Order in Council, order, regulation, rule, bye-law, deed, notice or other document whatsoever, the time referred to shall, during the period of summer time, be deemed, subject as hereinafter provided, to be the time as fixed for general purposes by this Act.

(3) Nothing in this Act shall affect the use of Greenwich mean time for purposes of astronomy, meteorology, or navigation, or affect the construction of any document mentioning or referring to a point of time in connection with any of those purposes.

LORD LYELL moved, at the end of subsection (1), to insert: "Nevertheless it shall be optional to the farmer in his engagements with his farm servants not to adopt Summer Time for the purposes of his farm work." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I feel I am going far in again asking your Lordships' attention to a question raised so recently as the Second Reading of this Bill. Unfortunately, on that occasion no successful solution was arrived at of the grievance which the farmers rightly entertain against the operation of Summer Time. They are, I think, the only members of the community who did not heartily welcome the great boon conferred by Summer Time upon the great mass of the people, but I think their grievance is a substantial one, and ought to receive consideration, with a willingness to find a solution, if it be practicable. I have accordingly put down the words of my Amendment for consideration on the Report stage, and I regret very much that it should happen to come up at a time when there is so interesting a programme before the House, dealing with matters which must command your Lordships' more serious attention. I will, however, occupy your time for only a few moments.

I desire by my Amendment that the farming community, if they like—it is an entirely optional measure from the beginning to the end, containing no penalties against anyone who wishes to be outside the operation of Summer Time—shall have the option under this Bill of standing out of it. The Summer Time Bill contains enormous compelling force which has brought people of all shades of opinion together, to co-operate and to comply, solely because of the fact that its provisions are contained in an Act of Parliament. Therefore I wish to have the same compelling force operating in favour of an option on the part of the farmers to stand outside this Bill. No doubt they can do without it. On former occasions farmers have stood out against the Bill here and there, but that action can have no effect upon the relief of the grievance. The insertion of these words will, I believe, point the way to a much bigger agreement among farmers with their workpeople, and allow them to take advantage of the best hours of the day to secure their crops. For many farmers this may be of no consequence, but to farmers who grow corn and cereals it is of importance. During the war appeals were made to the farmers to grow the greatest amount of corn for the food of the people, and it will be hard if their wishes in this respect are not acceded to soon. For that reason I ask your Lordships to entertain the Amendment which I have put upon the Paper.

Amendment moved— Clause 1, page 1, line 8, at end insert ("Nevertheless it shall be optional to the farmer in his engagements with his farm servants not to adopt summer time for the purposes of his farm work").—(Lord Lyell.)


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord for having raised this matter, as it shows there is a misapprehension on the point which I hope to be able to clear up to your Lordships' satisfaction. I should like to say, most clearly and most distinctly, that the Bill, as it stands, puts no obligation upon any farmer or farm labourer or any one alse to adopt any hours of labour. It is optional to every one to adopt such hours of labour as he wishes, and therefore I submit that the Amendment is not necessary. It does not give any further powers than those already inherent in the Bill, and I venture to hope that the noble Lord will not press his Amendment, but will accept the assurance which I am glad to give him. If any further explanation be necessary I understand that Lord Ancaster would be prepared on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture to issue to the agricultural community, by circular or some other method, an explanation such as I have ventured to give to the noble Lord. I hope that the noble Lord will accept my explanation.


I regret that I feel I have no right to take up further time. I fully agree that the Bill is entirely optional, but it has had immense effect upon public feeling in this country, and it would be very helpful if my Amendment could be put in.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.