The government is considering sponsoring a private members bill to abolish daylight saving time. However the move is controversial further north, as the Scottish National Party argues that everyone north of Manchester will suffer.
Private Member’s Bills are proposals for legislation introduced by MPs who aren’t ministers. Rebecca Harris MP introduced the Daylight Savings bill which proposes looking into the benefits and disadvantages of turning the clock back before a review of the law.
Getting rid of the bill would mean moving in line with Central European Time (CET) which would have obvious advantages for businesses that deal with companies abroad.
The time shift is meant to make mornings lighter, helping Britons to prevent accidents and wake up to sunlight, rather than the drizzling darkness that has plagued recent dawns.It was originally introduced to make the most of the weakened winter sun. Winston Churchill said it increased "the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country."
If investigations proved that keeping the clocks on summer time would be advantageous then a 3 year trial would be introduced. However SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan Iar Angus MacNeil said:
“It is no secret that Tories in the south want to leave Scotland in darkness, but fixing the clocks to British summertime would mean that dawn wouldn't break in Scotland until nearly 9am. That would have massive implications for the safety and wellbeing of everyone living north of Manchester."
“The evidence put forward supporting this change is dubious at best and the proponents of this change have ignored the sound reasons why this was abandoned after being trialled in the 1970s, and more recently by other European neighbours who found that the shift had a damaging effect on safety, health, energy consumption and commerce."
“There are alternatives which would balance the interests of all who share these Islands – including setting Daylight Savings Time closer to midwinter."
“It would be unacceptable if any move on this was made by Westminster without consultation with the devolved administrations.”
It therefore seems unlikely that any changes would be made, as David Cameron has said the Bill must also be approved by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before a trial is put in place.
Business Minister Edward Davey said:
“This is an issue which affects everyone across the country so we cannot rush head first into this. As the Prime Minister has made clear we would need consensus from the devolved administrations if any change were to take place. We have therefore tabled amendments to the current Bill to make sure that it addresses these concerns.”
“It is only right that we at least look at what the potential economic and social benefits of any change might be. Lower road deaths, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved health have all been argued over the years as possible benefits.
"If there is strong evidence to support this then we should at least see what the possible benefits [of getting rid of the bill] are.”
This year, at least, the clocks will go back as normal on Sunday 30th October.
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