§ Mr. Biffen
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions took place at the recent EEC Council of Ministers' meeting concerning the harmonisation of summer time; what consequencies this would have for United Kingdom practice; what comments and commitments were made by him; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Benn
The Council discussed on 26th June the French proposal that a harmonised system of summer time should be introduced throughout the Community from approximately 1st April to 1st October each year, so that continental countries should always be on the same time, and the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland always one hour behind them.
The United Kingdom practice is governed by the Summer Time Act, 1972. Our summer time in 1975 runs from 15th March to 26th October.598W
I doubt whether the harmonisation would contribute to the conservation of energy, the context in which the matter was raised on 26th June. These proposals concern several other Departments of State, notably the Home Office and the Department of the Environment, and need further careful consideration.
I entered into no commitment whatsoever on behalf of the United Kingdom. The matter will now have to be pursued in more detail in the Community. I intend to see that British interests are safeguarded.