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Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, perhaps I may intervene before the Minister sits down. I raised a number of specific issues; he has chosen one. I appreciate that in such a debate it is not easy to deal with all the matters in a short period of time. Will the noble Viscount be kind enough to agree to write to me about those outstanding matters?
Viscount Goschen: My Lords, I have already spoken for some 20 minutes. However, I shall be delighted to reply in the form of a letter to any detailed points to which I have not responded in the course of my remarks.
Lord Dubs: My Lords, perhaps I, too, may thank the many Members of the House who have contributed to the debate for the helpful comments that have been made. I am sure that noble Lords will appreciate that in the interests of saving time it would not be appropriate for me to comment on all that has been said. I therefore should like to make one or two brief remarks.
The noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, seemed to advocate meter feeding. I believe that that would destroy the purpose of having controlled parking. It simply means that people would arrive in the morning and arrange for the meter to be fed all day, thereby denying anyone else the opportunity of parking. Having said that, I agree with his comments on cycling. From the Back Benches I find his remarks about Horse Guards Parade appealing.
The noble Baroness, Lady Gardner, seemed to suggest that I was against clamping. I am certainly in support of vehicle clamping provided that it is fair and clear. I very much believe that there should be penalties on people who transgress parking controls. I was much taken by her plea for international symbols. It is a great idea. If we had symbols which were clear to people from London, all parts of our country, and abroad, much of the confusion would disappear, provided the symbols were clear and that there were enough in each area so that, having stopped, one knew the state of parking control in that area.
I welcome the support of the noble Lord, Lord Tope, for a fair system and for having a local authority review of the arrangements. That comment was also made by my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis. I thank him also for his other kind comments.
I welcome the Minister's support for the review which should take place in every local authority area. I welcome what he said about better signing. I am not sure how much force lay behind his comments. If he will urge London boroughs to consider their signing and to be critical of it, I should be even happier.
Except in passing, I did not comment on red routes because it is a wider issue than parking. However, certainly in the borough of Wandsworth there was much opposition to the red route system and the effect that it would have in generating more traffic, with difficulties for both local residents and shops on the routes.
As regards maps, I appreciate that they are available. My point was more a debating issue: that the situation regarding parking in London is so complicated that no map could possibly explain it to anyone. It is the sheer complexity of the arrangements which make the situation hard for foreign visitors and results in foreign visitors being penalised.
To sum up, I believe in tough enforcement. I believe that that is the message from the debate. However, I believe that the system should be fair and be seen to be fair. It should be clear to every motorist and other road user. At present it is not clear and therefore is not seen to be fair. Finally, I believe that the better the public transport system that we havewe do not now have a good onethe more easily will those other arrangements fall into place.
Perhaps I may say how grateful I am to my noble friend the Chief Whip for allowing time for this Bill to be debated tonight and to the many noble Lords who have been kind enough to find the time to come to debate the matter. I believe that it is probably of the greatest interest to everyone in our country. I hope that our deliberations and points made will be taken on board by the Government and, if I may say so, by the parties opposite. They do not seem to have a clearly defined view of the direction in which we should be going. As a result of the debate, I hope that we may have a better idea.
We experimented with adopting permanent Summer Time between 1968 and 1971. This was generally welcomed at the time, but when the matter was debated in another place in 1971 it was resolved by a narrow majorityI understand that that was due to a major accident occurring in the morning which understandably upset many peopleto revert to the time to which we had become accustomed since the end of Hitler's war. As far back as 1979 I raised this matter in your Lordships' House with a view to extending the period of British Summer Time. As your Lordships are aware, despite continual Starred and Unstarred Questions, debates on Summer Time orders and other occasions, I got nowhere, except in 1988 when my noble friend Lord Ferrers advised that there had been a pilot study of views and that the Government were to issue a consultation document. That was duly done in 1989. It was circulated on a wide basis. Broadly speaking, the questions posed were to indicate whether this country
As many noble Lords will probably know, the replies received for England, Wales and Northern Ireland showed a majority of 96 per cent. in favour of adopting Central European Time. In Scotland, 86 per cent. showed in favour for keeping the status quo. But overall in the whole of the United Kingdom, Central European Time was favoured by 81 per cent. of those canvassed. There was little or no support for the other two options. Since then little, if anything, has happened, except that the Europeans have agreed to defer their change of time in the autumn to harmonise with our present date.
On 22nd October 1990 I asked my noble friend Lord Ferrers whether in view of the response given to the Government's consultation paper it was time that something should be done. My noble friend said that the Government had taken note of the observations and that there was a certain amount of keenness on both sides of the argument but that,
In 1992, during a short debate on the Summer Time Order, I asked whether in view of the fact that nearly three years had passed since the issue of the consultation document we could have a debate in this House. My noble friend Lord Astor replied:
Nearly two years later, on 19th January last, I put down another Unstarred Question asking whether the Government would take action in accordance with the consultation paper. The noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu, reminded the House that my noble friend Lord Ferrers had described the subject as one of,
However, that was all to no avail, as my noble friend suggested that I should be reassured that the Government were actively considering whether there was a case for moving to Central European Time and they expected to reach a decision soon.
Getting nowhere, I then sought the help of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. He kindly replied to me on 28th March saying that there were differences of opinion which needed to be considered fully. He also went on to say that there were a variety of ways and means whereby the issue could be raised and that, if necessary, a vote could be taken. I just quote one point from that letter:
On 18th October last, when the Summer Time Order was brought before your Lordships' House, I reminded the House that my noble friend Lord Astor, in reply to the Question which I put to him three years previously, had said that a public hearing on the matter would be held after the summer break. As far as I am aware, that was not done. I also asked specifically, bearing in mind the suggestion made by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, when the Government would make provision for a Bill in our House so that we had the opportunity to debate it. My noble friend said that the Government would keep in close touch with developments and report back. That has not been done.
As I said before, I should have thought that 96 per cent. in favour of one of the options was extremely clear. My noble friend also said that from the initial consultations the Government could not have anticipated the adoption of a common October end date as part of the status quo. That is irrelevant. We are not talking about a common end date, much as I welcome it. We are talking about the time to be adopted in this country, either keeping that which we currently use or Central European Time, not just an end date. My noble friend said that the present state of the Government's policy was to weigh carefully the pros and cons of just that. Surely, in a space of nearly five years at least it should have been possible, if the matter had been seriously examined, for all the pros and cons to have been weighed by now.
There are those no doubt who might well feel that there is some connection between the purpose of this Bill and closer affiliation with Europe. That is just not so. Whatever anyone feels regarding a closer or even any political tie with Europe is irrelevant in this context. Whether in or out of Europe, I am concerned only with that which is best for this country. I humbly suggest that the adoption of the time used on the Continent across the English Channel is better than having a different time therefrom.
Well, here we are, after all this time and no decision. This is the reason why I have tabled the Billto give the Government the opportunity to listen to our deliberations and, if it is felt expedient, to pass the Bill in this House, as I am sure it will undoubtedly assist the Government in another place. It might just perhaps be worth recalling that in another place in 1983 the debate showed a small majority in favour of change.
That was the historical part. Perhaps I may turn to the Bill itself. It is, as noble Lords will see, nice and short. I regret that my speech is not all that short, nor will the debate be with the magnificent attendance of speakers today. The Bill's purpose is fairly stated to be to adopt Central European Time in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is due to come into force on 27th October
One point of contention of which I am very conscious is the possible exclusion of Scotland. It has been suggested to me that this measure is most timely in view of the discussions of potential devolution or part thereof for Scotland. As far as I am concerned, nothing could be further from the truth. While I am passionately in favour of the United Kingdom remaining as it is, there are times when common sense might perhaps prevail whereby on localised matters the Scots view might be allowed to prevail. I am very conscious that there is a considerable feeling in Scotland that we should maintain the status quo. However, the Scots have a different legal system, they have different Sunday shopping laws, they have different Bank Holidays. If they wished, they could surely have a different time.
If the English Channel is at present a cut-off point for the time zone in which we are, it is just as logical, or illogicalwhichever way round one views itto have a change of time zone as Hadrian's Wall in relation to Europe. I respect the feelings of the Scots and therefore I have not felt it right to make provision automatically for Scotland to be included in the Bill without their having the option of making their views known. If they feel like it, they can opt in to the Bill rather than opting out, which is much harder. It is not right for a small proportion of the United Kingdom to be responsible for frustrating the apparent wishes of those south of the Border. The much over-used word "democracy" springs to mind. We accept that we are all in one club together and therefore the views of the majority usually and correctly prevail and should do so.
I recognise that there will be many who will say that it would be impractical to have Scotland on one time and the rest of the United Kingdom on another. I would agree with that. But if there are those who feel that Scotland ought to be included, this might be usefully raised at the Committee stage, if the Bill is given a Second Reading.
I turn to some of the advantages of adopting Central European Time, not necessarily in order of importance. First, tourism and leisure: estimates from the Policy Studies Institute calculate that an extra £1 billion would be gained from tourism. In addition, it is thought that there would be an increase in leisure trips, particularly to spectator sports. I know that many on all sides of the House, for example, are keen racegoers. I suggest that if we had Central European Time in this country at present, the owners, jockeys, trainers and everyone else connected with racing would be only too delighted to be able to start later, to give themselves time to get organised and to have racing conducted at a time which is similar to the time in the summer. The increase in spectator sports would lead to a substantial increase in employment in these areas. The retailers would also gain from improved operational efficiency as a later afternoon would spread shopping more evenly across the day. I recognise, however, that shops are now open sometimes even 24 hours a day, but generally speaking most people restrict their shopping to daylight hours.
On travel and communication, 58 per cent. of the United Kingdom's exports go to EC countries and it would benefit businesses to have their opposite numbers working identical hours and schedules, including lunch breaks. At present in an average working day there are only four hours when businessmen on either side of the Channel in Europe can communicate with their counterparts. Business travellers could also get to Europe for morning meetings without the cost of overnight accommodation. It is forecast that British airlines would increase their revenue by between £20 million and £40 million by an increase in their proper share of business between major European capitals. The synchronisation of the City with European financial centres would achieve an hour in overlap with the fast growing markets in the Far East, where there is of course a substantial business potential.
Most important is the issue of road safety. The Road Safety Research Laboratory has calculated that between 1969 and 1970 during the original experiment 1,330 deaths and serious injuries and 2,350 other injuries were saved. Had the experiment been made permanent in 1971, it is calculated that over 20,000 deaths and serious injuries would have been prevented. It is estimated that an extra £200 million per annum would be saved through such reductions.
It might also be worth bearing in mind that in the four months alone from November to February inclusive there are 50 per cent. more fatal and serious injuries in the hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. as compared to 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and three times as many among children in the peak hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. as compared to 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Increased visibility on the roads in the evenings would lead to a reduction in the number of injuries if Central European Time were to be adopted.
In the field of health, children, for example, do not get enough exercise as the current school curriculum allocates insufficient time for physical education before the onset of an early dusk. Having the clock one hour forward would increase these opportunities and would help to promote the fitness of both adults and children. In addition, adjusting the clocks as suggested would allow more access to summer sunlight, which, being the primary source of Vitamin D at a time of its highest incidence from 12 noon to 4 p.m., would act in the capacity of a prophylactic.
I now turn to agriculture. I have always been puzzled as to why it is that the CLA and the NFU have been opposed to this proposal. I would have thought that it would have assisted those engaged in the agricultural industry enormously. I have been a farmer and I speak with some experience. I welcomed the opportunity during the earlier experiment to be able to work in the fields in the daylight instead of at half-past three in the afternoon in the dark. In the morning, at least half an hour to an hour is taken up (or certainly should be taken up) by farmers seeing to their machinery, their tractors, and what will you, and getting prepared for the day's work. The cows can hardly mind whether they are milked when the clock on the farmer's mantelpiece happens to say 7 o'clock instead of 6 o'clock. In any event, most cattle and nearly all dairy cows are now kept indoors for the winter months and most cows are milked
If we consider fuel consumption, it is thought that by putting the clock one hour ahead substantial savings in fuel could be achieved each year. The winter months generally see the consumption of electricity increasing by about 50 per cent. and gas by 400 per cent. It is thought that approximately £60 million could be saved to domestic consumers and £200 million to the commercial and public sectors in the cost of lighting alone if the clocks were advanced by one hour.
In relation to crime, an increasing number of women, children and old people stay indoors during the hours of darkness because of anxiety about assault. The extra hour of daylight would help to address these two problems by allowing the elderly to be out and about longer in the afternoon without the fear of the evil that stalks in the hours of darkness.
There is a tremendous degree of support for this proposal. It comes not only in the responses to the Green Paper. The national newspapers have also indicated over a period of time that the majority of the electorate are supportive. I find it very strange that the Government have not yet sought any form of parliamentary approval. Nor indeed have they had a full-ranging debate on it. To quote the Observer in 1990,
If this Bill is passed it would bring significant improvement to the overall quality of life for the majority of the population. For 10 months of the year there would be a further hour of evening daylight, whereas the extra hour of morning darkness would have to be endured only from early December to the end of January.
For all these overwhelming reasons I urge the Government to move with all possible speed for the adoption of Central European Time, and I urge noble Lords to give the Bill a Second Reading so that the matter may be fully discussed in another place and finally be enacted within this parliamentary Session.
Lord Jenkins of Hillhead: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Viscount upon directing the attention of the House to this truly important subject and also on the manner in which he moved the Second Reading, in particular the devastating account he gave of the long years of procrastination, hesitation and postponement. I have no wish to introduce a controversial note but perhaps I may dare to say that there was a time when we
I remain of the view that what we did in 1967 was right. Those three years worked well. There were of course complaints. One memory I treasure is of the late A.J.P. Taylor, who liked to combine being an ebullient narrative historian with writing highly populist articles, mainly in the Sunday Express, denouncing the proposal as being a typical example of what I believe would now be called "Islington Man". It was then called "the Lilac Establishment". He said it was typical that I had proposed to make the working class get up in the dark while the middle class, as he implied, were to be allowed to stay in bed until the winter sunshine warmed their doorsteps, their patios and their routes to work.
That was, of course, absolutely the reverse of the truth. The change of time did not make manual workers get up in the dark. Manual workers had in winter always got up in the dark. What it did, in those more leisurely days before the Stock Exchange operated before ten in the morning and before hard-working Treasury officials arrived at about the same time, was to make the professional classes, for the first time, get up in the dark. It did the reverse of what he said.
There are particular problems relating to Scotland. I remember my dear friend Jo Grimond saying to me rather reproachfully that he much wanted to support such a forward measure but did I realise that in the northern part of his constituency it would mean that there would not be full light until nearly 11 o'clock in the morning? I recall saying to him, "I am sorry about that but I am not sure. Is it a great deal worse than there not being full light until 10 o'clock in the morning, particularly if the price that you pay is that it starts to get dark at 2 o'clock in the afternoon?
I take great pleasure in brilliant winter sunsets such as we had today. But they should appear at a moderate time. I remember in Stockholm, in the splendid opera restaurant, observing one of the best winter sunsets I have ever seen. It was a little unfortunate that it appeared before the main course of lunch was on the table. I remember vividly, as Member of Parliament for Hillhead, Saturday afternoons in Glasgow with the light shining through into the Kelvingrove Gallery in winter. The light has a special quality. But, again, it is a pity if the sunset comes before the coffee cups are cleared from the lunch table.
Noble Lords may be surprised to hear that I share the view of the noble Viscount, Lord Mountgarret, that this issue has nothing to do with European ideology. One does not have to be part of a common time zone in order to be a good European. The United States, which is a closer polity than I ever expect Europe to be in my lifetime or well beyond it, has four time zones. I am rather of the view that the European Community, certainly as it extends, should have two time zones rather than one.
There can be disadvantages in that, and I have suffered from them occasionally. For example, on a warm autumn evening in the south of Italy, because of the eastward slope of the peninsula, it gets dark a little before 6 o'clock. There can be disadvantages in Portugal when, even on an August morning, the sun may not come up until after 8 o'clock. There is something to be said for two time zones. But that is a quite separate issue. We would greatly increase the convenience and the amenity of life in this country if, rather than being on Central European Time we were on what I should prefer to call double Summer Time in summer and single Summer Time in winter. There is certainly no European ideology about that. After all, during the war years, when we stood alone, we did precisely that, because we thought it the best way to order things in conditions where safety, fuel saving and a number of other matters were of great importance.
Therefore, I strongly support the noble Viscount's Bill. However, I have ambiguous feelings about his Scottish solution. I followed his argument. It has elements of what one might call a Portia-Shylock aspect: yes, you can be independent, provided you pay the price. Probably unlike the noble Viscount, a firm believer in devolution but also a firm believer in the preservation of the union of the United Kingdom, I should not like to see a time frontier between England and Scotland.
It is perhaps reasonable to offer the Scots the alternative of making their own decision. I hope that they would make a decision to proceed as we did. Sensible decisions on time zones are essentially a matter of longitude and not of latitude. The division should go east-west with longitude and not north-south with latitude.
I am completely persuaded that we should do better from the point of view of safety, amenity, convenience and efficiency with the day slung later, both in summer and winter. We shall not thereby increase the hours of daylightthat is beyond human ingenuitybut we will increase the enjoyment of them by a substantial majority of the population. I strongly support the noble Viscount's Bill.
Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords, this year has started off in an extraordinary way in parliamentary terms. We spent the first two days of this week debating and attempting to amend a Bill which, because it was a money Bill, we could not amend and, if we had gone so far as to amend it, nobody would have paid any attention
The Bill is bizarre for three reasons. First, it deals with what is surely a national problem and a matter for government to decide. It is wholly unsuitable for Private Member legislation. Secondly, since Scotland is excluded from the Bill, the result of the Bill would be very odd. That was mentioned by both previous speakers. There would be a change in time zoneif not exactly at Hadrian's Wall, which is still in England, a little further north of it.
Moreover, a point which no one has yet mentioned is that on the island of Ireland there would be different time zones in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. It is quite inconceivable that the British Isles, as a geographical unit which includes the Republic of Ireland, could be divided into two time zones. Whatever would happen if, by any mischance, the English decided that they wanted to have Central European Time (which I prefer to call it, to remind us of what it is) and thereby dragooned the Scots and Irish into joining them? That would be the inevitable result of such a decision. I can imagine the thinking in Northern Ireland. What would Sinn Fein make of it if the British Parliament decided that there should be two time zones in Ireland? They would probably regard that as a somewhat strange form of neo-colonialism. I am not sure whether it would have been intentional, but that is what it would look like to them.
Last January, almost exactly a year ago, we debated this issue in the form of an Unstarred Question. My views can be found in some detail and I do not want to go into detail again this evening. As I see it, there appear to be two reasons for this proposal. The first is in the nature of harmonisation with Europe and the convenience of a smallish number of business people who do business with Europe. The noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, who has some experience of Scotland, accepted the fact that the European Union need not have only one time zone; he accepted that it could have two. But it could quite as readily have three. There would be a fairly broad time zone in the middle, a fairly thin one on the western end, where we would be, and another fairly thin one on the eastern end, where countries like Greece would be. There would be nothing unusual about that.
The noble Lord referred to the United States, where there are no great business problems about time zones. If a man in Chicago wants to do business with someone in Pittsburg early in the morning, he gets out of bed and picks up his telephone. He does not demand that the time zone be changed to suit his convenience. The same thing is true with regard to London and Europe.
The CBI tells us that there is an effective four-hour Euro business day and I believe the noble Viscount, Lord Mountgarret, mentioned that also. Why is that? The CBI explains it by saying that the present system gives European rivals two hours' extra time for business. The reason is that work starts here, it is said, between nine and nine-thirty UK time, whereas the
I turn to the question of the reduction in road accidents. That arose as an additional argument. I do not believe that when my noble friend Lord Jenkins brought in his experiment in 1967 or 1968I remember it wellthe road accident question was large in people's minds. They were thinking more in terms of harmonisation with Europe. The problem is that lives may be saved in the evening, but the experiment showed that they can be lost in the morning. People may say that it was only one incident and I know that they will say it was far awayI believe it was at Stornoway, possibly the worst place for something to happen in terms of hours of darkness. The point is not that there was only one such accident, but that such accidents are inevitable and will occur from time to time. They will not happen repeatedly. But every now and again they will occur because of the extra darkness in the morning and, because of the problems of winterthe frost and the cold of early morningsuch incidents will occur over and over again.
What is more, there is the problem of motorway madness. When does that occur? It occurs in the morning when people are hurrying through the dark into London or one or other of the big conurbations. There are wintry mornings when roads are icy and fog occurs. That is when motorway madness and motorway pile-ups occur, with severe casualties and large numbers of injured. Such scenes are inevitable. They will become more inevitable if a change in time is undertaken. During that extra hour in the morning the wintry conditions will always be more severe and the dangers of driving will become more severe. The inevitability of such catastrophes is certain.
Let me turn to Scotland. I know Scotland very well, as noble Lords will be aware. From his experiences in that great country, my noble friend Lord Jenkins of Hillhead knows Scotland better now than he did in 1967. I can remember the period during the war when I was a schoolboy and a student. I left my home in Troon on the train at two minutes past seven in a darkness so black that one could not see one's hand before one's face. There was of course a blackout in those days, which made the situation much worse. I arrived in Glasgow, still in darkness, around eight o'clock and was in plenty of time to see a delightful wintry dawn around a quarter
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