§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Reginald Maudling)
I beg to move,That the British Standard Time Order, 1970, a draft of which was laid before this House on 12th November, be approved.I should like to start by explaining the effect of this Motion. First may I make it clear that, although I am moving the Motion from the Government Front Bench, the Government are not taking a position in this matter. We feel that it is right that it should be decided by a free vote of the House, but the only way in which it could be brought before the House was by such a Motion of this kind.
I should like to make clear the legal position. Either we pass this Motion and, if it is also passed in another place, British Standard Time will be made permanent or, if it is rejected, there will be a reversion to Greenwich Mean Time on 31st October, 1971. The normal period of summer time in 1972 and the subsequent years would be from the day following the third Saturday in March until the day following the fourth Saturday in October, which is about seven months. But there will be power for the Government to vary this period by Order in Council. Clearly, if there was evidence of substantial public desire for variation of the period, the Government would bring forward the necessary Order. The purpose of the debate today is to decide whether B.S.T. should be made permanent or whether we should revert to the previous system.
My task is not to persuade the House to vote one way or the other, but briefly to put before the House the issues that we are considering. As the House is aware, we published a White Paper, "Review of British Standard Time", in October, based on work which had been commissioned by my predecessor, the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). In this White Paper we have tried to set out as objectively as possible the factors involved in this decision.
I should like briefly to run through them. First, there are the arguments in favour of making B.S.T. permanent. The first point relates to the social survey carried out by the Government, and the 1332 public opinion poll—and we all have our views about the accuracy of these polls—was very carefully conducted and was based on personal interviews. It involved some 7,000 people, which is a large sample as compared with other public opinion poll activities. Therefore, it is right for the House to give considerable attention to what the social survey indicated.
It showed that in the mid-winter period 50 per cent. of the population favoured the British Standard Time, 41 per cent. wanted to go back to Greenwich Mean Time, and 9 per cent. were undecided—which by public opinion poll standards is rather a small proportion of "undecideds". In the spring period another check was taken and this showed that the percentage of the public in favour of B.S.T. rose to 51 per cent., with only 39 per cent. against, and 10 per cent. undecided. This was the social survey finding and, although it is in no sense decisive, it is an important piece of evidence. As I have said, it was commissioned by my predecessor in office and was carried out with care and conscientiousness.
§ Mr. Maudling
Over the whole country. I will come to Scotland in due course.
The second point which is often raised is in regard to schools. It is fair to say that the difficulties created for the schools by B.S.T. broadly speaking have been overcome and there are advantages in children being able to go home during a longer period of daylight.
Thirdly, road casualties. Here again the figures, like most statistics, are open to argument; but it is fair to say that the crude figures show a certain saving of casualties over the period. I accept straight away that these figures must be accepted and treated with a good deal of reserve.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
This might be the deciding factor for myself and many hon. Members. Has the right hon. Gentleman got any more up-to-date figures about casualties in the evenings and in the mornings?
§ Mr. Maudling
I cannot add any new information to that which is contained in 1333 the White Paper. We must treat these figures with considerable reserve. We have put before the House the best figures which we can obtain, because that is our duty.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
Is the right hon. Gentleman taking into account the Road Research Laboratory's statistics which appeared in the Library today? My feeling is that those figures are different from those in the survey. Is there anything more up to date available?
§ Mr. Maudling
I have not seen those figures, but I have not been told that anything produced by the Road Research Laboratory casts doubt on what is in the White Paper. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to mention that in the course of his speech if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
On the various special or particular interests in favour of retaining British Standard Time, it seems that commercial people feel that there is considerable advantage in having a time system in this country which coincides with that of Western Europe. Many people who have done business in Western Europe recognise that here is an important and clear factor; namely, that if we have the same time situation as in Western Europe throughout the year rather than having it broken, as under the old system, it is most helpful to the conduct of business and commerce.
The tourist and travel organisations have indicated that they find British Standard Time a good thing from their point of view.
The electricity people say that there will be a saving, which they quantify with some exactitude, of £100 million in capital expenditure and electric power generation under a system of continued British Standard Time.
The sporting people, by and large, favour the retention of British Standard Time. They believe that the lighter afternoons in winter have led more people to participate in outdoor sports.
Industry is divided, but, on the whole, as the White Paper shows, of the people consulted—employers and unions—60 per cent. had no strong views—this is rather interesting—35 per cent. were in favour of retaining the new system, and 5 per cent. were against it.
1334 Those are the main points which the Government have been able to gather together from their survey of public opinion and discussion with the interests concerned in favour of retaining British Standard Time.
I now turn to the arguments against British Standard Time. Here Scotland particularly comes into the picture.
§ Mr. Maudling
I believe that to get to Scotland one passes through the North of England.
The survey shows that, despite the overall figures to which I referred earlier, in Scotland about 61 per cent. of people favoured reversion to Greenwich Mean Time in winter and only 34 per cent. wanted to stay with British Standard Time. This is an extremely important factor.
In making a decision today on the basis of a free vote, I think that we should bear in mind what I saw in a leading article in the Daily Telegraph recently which seemed very sensible. It it not entirely easy for a democratic assembly to decide between a large minority which feels strongly and a majority which does not. This may be the situation here. None of us can be certain. But it is clear that those who are against British Standard Time feel more strongly about it than those who are in favour. What that means to the philosophy of our democratic process I leave to other philosophers than myself.
Those who are opposed to British Standard Time and want to revert to the old system are led by the farming community, whose views on this matter are well known to the House, so I need not dwell on them.
Similar views are held by the construction industry in which a substantial majorit of people concerned obviously are against British Standard Time and wish to see a reverision to the old system.
A number of other people on outdoor work—for example, postmen and road maintenance men—also feel that the system of the long, dark mornings is bad from their point of view, and they are opposed to its continuation.
When local authorities were canvassed about their views, it was found that 64 1335 per cent. held no strong views—possibly not unusual—28 per cent. were in favour of reversion to the old system and only 8 per cent. were in favour of British Standard Time.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
When my right hon. Friend says that 64 per cent. held no strong views, does he not mean that 64 per cent. did not answer that question in the questionnaire and that the authors of the review decided that they could not have held any strong views?
§ Mr. Maudling
I think it is a fair presumption that they had no strong views; otherwise they would have expressed them. However, I cannot guarantee that.
There is the further point about danger to children which is very much in the minds of hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is difficult to produce any convincing figures one way or the other. There has been a surprising and sad increase in the number of child casualties between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. which is not wholly explained and rather bedevils the figures on this point. I honestly should not like to try to advise the House one way or the other. I do not think that the figures could prove that the increase in casualties in the morning is not more than balanced by the decrease in casualties in the afternoon. The figures are not clear enough to base a decision upon. I think that we should assume one way or the other that there is not a large margin either way.
There has been a suggestion that offences against children have increased as a result of British Standard Time. It seems clear that this is not so. There is no evidence that that has come about.
I have outlined the issues in this matter. I do not think that we should go upon detailed statistics of road casualties to children, which really cannot be argued in any detail because they are not adequate to base firm opinions upon. I do not think that we should be influenced too much by public opinion polls or even by the social survey, which I believe is a good one, carried out by the Government. This is pre-eminently a matter on which individual Members should make up their minds about what is right in the interests of the nation.
§ Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Ardwick) rose—
§ Mr. Maudling
That is why I am putting this matter before the House. I am not taking a stand one way or the other. I am inviting the House to judge.
§ Mr. Kaufman
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question? May I take it that, in the event of the House rejecting the Order, it will be necessary for the Government to come forward with a proposal for some new period?
§ Mr. Maudling
The hon. Gentleman was not present when I began my speech. I explained that the automatic effect of rejection of the Order is a return to the previous system.
§ Mr. David James (Dorset, North)
On a point of order. I apologise for having been five seconds late in arriving. May I ask whether you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, are proposing to call the Amendment standing in my name, at the end to add:'save that, at the end of paragraph (2) thereof there shall be added the following: "except for the period beginning with the second Sunday of November and ending with the third Saturday in February"'.or that standing in the names of several of my hon. Friends, at the end to add:'only when the draft has been amended so as to provide that Greenwich mean time shall extend from 14th November, 1971 to 20th February, 1972 and such other equivalent dates in future years'.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)
First, the Amendments to the Motion are out of order.
Secondly, and perhaps of maximum interest to the House, more than 30 hon. Members who wish to speak in the debate have given in their names. These include six maiden speakers. I shall be able to call only four maiden speakers. It would be at least for the enjoyment of the speakers concerned if I were to say that the following maiden speakers will be called: they are the hon. Members for the Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart), Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray), Preston, North (Miss Holt), and Ipswich (Mr. Money).
I need hardly remind the House that, in view of what has already been said brief speeches would be welcome.
§ Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)
On a point of order. On the question of some 30 names having been submitted, including four maiden speakers, is the House to understand that unless an hon. Member has submitted his name indicating that he wishes to speak in the debate his prospects of being called in the debate are virtually nil?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
That would be an unlikely assumption. Those hon. Members who catch my eye have an equal chance; but it is an indication of the general and widespread interest in the debate.
§ Mr. Lawson
Further to that point of order. May I take it that that is merely an invitation, and that it will have no effect on those hon. Members who are called to speak? I think that this is damaging to the debating practices of the House.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's point, and I think that I have made plain what the issue is.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Further to that point of order. I do not want to delay the debate, but may I submit that, as this is private Members' business, and not Government business, there ought not to be a selective list?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I think I must make plain that selection rests with Mr. Speaker. The names which have been mentioned are those of hon. Members who have indicated their interest in the subject, which shows the extent of the interest in it in the House. No doubt many hon. Members will seek to catch the eye of the Chair during the debate, and I very much hope that they will give themselves and the Chair an equal chance of being called and of calling them.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)
We all applaud the Home Secretary for his usual sense of fair play. The right hon. Gentleman has cautioned us against the careless use of the statistics in the Blue Book, which he calls a White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman was lucid, and I hope that I may be as clean-cut as he was in putting my point of view.
I declare a lack of interest in my constituency in this matter. I have received 1338 no correspondence on this issue. I have heard people saying that manual workers in the building industry and postmen who have to make morning deliveries of mail suffer because of British Standard Time. As the House knows, Hull has many dockers, and they and the fishermen in that area get to the docks at about half-past seven in the morning, but I have not received any letters from them complaining about the present situation, and, therefore, the view that I express today is my own opinion. I am no delegate of any constituency interest.
I am incorrect in saying that I have received no correspondence on this subject. I have received one letter from a geography teacher, but she does not live in my constituency. Her point is that, being a geographer like herself, I should, for the sake of astronomic accuracy, vote against having a time system which is not based on G.M.T. or on any degrees of longitude. I should oppose having to go into what is sometimes called a Central European zone but is actually a Western European zone.
Living, as we do, on an island off the west coast of Europe, we are intimately concerned with this issue of common time. I am no Euro fanatic, I am no Common Market fanatic, but I think that there is an argument for going in with the mainland, off which we are an island, when it comes to settling time zones. I have here a book entitled "In The Dark" by a distinguished former Member of the House, Sir Alan Herbert, in which he talks aboutthe shameless sucking up to the Common Market".I do not think that that is the case at all.
It is suggested that this may even be a conspiracy by the wicked people of the cities and the south who wish to steal the sunshine and deprive those in the north of it. B.S.T. does not make the slightest difference to the length of the day. What we are discussing is an hour, on or off, in the morning, and on or off at teatime. Not even Alan Herbert can contest the physical facts of life. Because of our geographical position and the latitude at which we are situated, we have short winter days.
The Minister has given us facts which need not be repeated. He has hinted that it is impossible to quantify many of the advantages or disadvantages of this 1339 system. This must be a qualitative judgment. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will accept that. This is a matter of personal opinion, and in this context I speak as an individual and not as a constituency Member.
Although I do not live north of the Tweed, I used to go to school in Northumberland on dark mornings. Many hon. Gentlemen opposite say that we have to stand on our own two feet in the economic context. Is it because of their constituency interests that they cannot follow that philosophy now, but have to think of others? If I can stand on my own two feet, I am sure that many others can, too. I accept British Standard Time, and I call in aid this White Paper, Cmnd. 4512.
I sympathise with people north of the Tweed, but I believe that the balance of opinion on the facts would tip the beam over on one side. On speaking to some of my constituents I find that they value the extra hour of daylight between half-past four and half-past five. Last night I saw a television programme about Stornoway. The hon. Member who represents that area must be present this evening. During the programme something extremely relevant to this issue was said by a distinguished inhabitant of Lewis. He is a qualified engineer, and he said something which I have had said to me by some of my constituents, by mothers of children who go to school in the morning when it is dark and return in the afternoon when it is still light.
During the television interview he said that people in the area were getting used to this system, and that even in the far north, where they might hope to have a midnight sun at some time, they can, like the people south of Caledonia, also stand on their own two feet.
I do not think that the present situation is impossible, as some people suggest it is. I find that old-age pensioners and housewives value the extra hour of daylight. The Blue Book refers to the effects on industrial workers, agricultural workers, teachers, women's organisations, sports organisations, and so on. On balance, standard time is not as unpopular as some of its more violent, or more vocal, opponents say it is.
1340 In 1968 I listened to David Ennals, the former Member for Dover, whom we all miss tonight, talking about this issue. He said that there was a substantial shift of opinion on the matter. The White Paper says that this substantial shift of opinion has continued since then. Reference has been made to a common time zone with the people on the mainland. I think that this is a good idea, even if we do not go into the Common Market. It is important that our business people can pick up a phone and speak to someone on the Continnt, knowing that there is a common time for them, and that they are on the same wavelength. I am told that there has been a gain in business contact hours of about 20 per cent. because of having a common clock.
In my opinion we should consider not only economic matters. The Minister mentioned leisure. No sportsman in the Chamber can deny that it is a good thing to have an extra hour of light in the evening, be it for playing soccer or golf, having an extra hour in a car or outside it, or for a co-ed or single-sex exercise. No one can deny that in that situation we all value the extra hour of light in the evening. As the Minister said, the statistics bear this out.
If one talks to one's constituents, particularly to women, they express the same view as other have expressed about accidents. They talk about their youngsters having to go to school in the morning when it is dark and returning at teatime when it is much lighter than it was under the previous system. We have the statistics of casualties. In England and Wales there was a betterment of 3 per cent. In Scotland—and I hope that this will be of some significance to my colleagues north of the Tweed—there was a betterment of 8.6 per cent. These figures are important to the mothers of young children who go to school. In the whole of the United Kingdom there was just under 4 per cent. betterment. This represents a net gain in human happiness, which should be borne in mind.
One lady to whom I talked about this said that she felt miserable getting up in the morning when it was dark, but felt much happier to have her daughter coming home from school in daylight at ten minutes to four. As one who was born in the north and who has a northern 1341 constituency, I find some of the arguments insubstantial in the light of my own pattern of behaviour. Even in Caledonia, which is so stern and wild, the sun does not set until 4.45 p.m. B.S.T. whereas in the winter solstice it will set at nearer 4 o'clock G.M.T., which is much worse for people living north of the Tweed. British Standard Time is a boon to housewives, sportsmen and elderly people who do not want to get up in the mornings.
I hope that no one will try to set the town against the country. There is a feeling that urban people gain by British Standard Time whereas country people dislike it. We must remember that we are now in 1970 and not at the end of the First World War or the Second World War. Enormous changes have taken place in the pattern of human settlements in the United Kingdom and in the pattern of human behaviour. People tend now to be urbanised and to have different attitudes. Our workers have much more leisure and prefer to have more hours of daylight at the end of the day.
Although it may be unusual for me to do so, I come down in favour of what perhaps the Government desire, and I support the Order.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Hamish Gray (Ross and Cromarty)
It is usual at the commencement of a maiden speech to make reference to one's predecessor, and this is frequently done in happy mood. However, the death of Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie so recently has introduced a sad note into what would otherwise have been for me a pleasing duty.
Alasdair Mackenzie represented Ross and Cromarty from October, 1964, until June of this year, and during his term as a Member of Parliament he made many friends in the House. His quiet and friendly approach, coupled with his obvious sincerity, made him both liked and respected. In the constituency of which he was so rightly proud his sudden death was mourned by many friends, and the large and representative gathering which attended his funeral made a fitting tribute to a Highlander who had given much of his life to the service of others.
For the benefit of hon. Members who may not have visited the area, I will tell them that the constituency of Ross and 1342 Cromarty stretches from east to west, from the North Sea to the Atlantic, and from its boundary in the north with Caithness and Sutherland approximately at Ardgay to the point at which it meets Inverness near Beauly. It is, geographically, one of the largest constituencies in the British Isles, but has an electorate of only 27,000. Ross and Cromarty includes some of Scotland's most prized beauty spots and attracts thousands of tourists each year, especially to its mild and beautiful western shores. It is unique in offering a relaxed holiday atmosphere, while affording facilities for development in the Easter Ross area unsurpassed in Western Europe. There is a natural deep water berth at Invergordon, where flat land at sea level is available for development, and much land is available for possible reclamation. The £37 million aluminium smelter is, I am confident, only the start of a Highland revival.
I hope that over the years many hon. and right hon. Members will visit my constituency. I assure them of a warm welcome. None would be more welcome at this moment than my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Such a visit would confirm to them, if confirmation is necessary, the vast potential of the area and the desirability of encouraging industry to move into the region. I would, however, suggest that, should my right hon. Friends plan a visit in the near future, they do not embark on any land inspection before 10 a.m. since, because of the adverse effect of British Standard Time, they would require the aid of artificial light until almost that hour.
During the first winter in which this unfortunate experiment was imposed, I spent a night in a village on the west coast of my constituency. At 9.40 a.m. next morning it was necessary to use headlights while motoring south. B.S.T. is proving a completely unjustifiable imposition on all persons who have occasion to be out of doors for the purpose of early work or travel.
I have had a vast amount of correspondence on the subject and, with the exception of one solitary letter, it has been entirely against B.S.T. My correspondents represent a wide cross-section of my constituents. Unions and 1343 employers' associations alike have protested, and their views are fairly represented by the General Secretary of the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers, who wrote to me:Our union is overwhelmingly opposed to the continuation of B.S.T.The difficulties which have been created are immense. They include the care of animals; farm vehicles using unlit country roads, frequently in bad weather conditions; getting stock to market, with the impossibility of loading before daylight and the subsequent disorganisation of transport; the intense cold before sunrise; the hopeless situation on building sites even where the site is lit—and many are not. Men face dangers because of shadows and icy conditions, and many building operations which are relatively easy in daylight become impossible in artificial light. Postmen, Post Office engineers, municipal workers and delivery men all suffer a marked decline in their working conditions. B.S.T. causes hazards for children on their way to school, and for the elderly. Housewives who go early to shop or to work suffer difficulties.
In addition, an overall depressing effect is experienced by all who have to suffer the dark mornings for a prolonged period in winter. An experiment carried out by the department of pharmacy at the University of Nottingham in May, 1960, is described in detail in the "Journal of Endocrinology", 1960. vol. 21, page 213. Volunteers were blindfolded before sleep and for three hours after they awoke. The scientific results proved unquestionably that the reactions of those people were impaired not only during the hours immediately after the blindfold was removed but for the remainder of the day.
Apart from the physical and mental suffering which this abominable system imposes, there is a frightening aspect of cost. The building industry estimates that the annual cost of the system amounts to £30 mutton per year, the Scottish share of which is £8 million per year. The white fish industry—I know that this applies perhaps to the Scottish section of it, but the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson) will, no doubt, take note—considers that it has lost an hour's fishing per day in 1344 winter, or nearly a day a week. Many forestry operations have a drop in production of 20 pet cent. or more, and, of course, there is the added danger for foresters of working in woods without adequate light.
The cost to agriculture in Scotland alone is estimated at more than £½ million, plus a whole range of burdens which it is impossible to assess in monetary terms. Furthermore, it should be remembered that the two winters during which the experiment has taken place have been relatively mild and, therefore, the results could have been very much worse had they been severe.
It has been suggested by some that the hour at the other end of the day fully compensates, but this is simply not so. The present state of morning darkness will gradually worsen, returning to today's equivalent at approximately the beginning of February, while the evenings will begin to stretch from about 30th December. Thus, the improvement in the mornings is negligible before February and will adversely affect the worst areas. The dark mornings are with us for a disproportionately long time.
I ask hon. Members whose constituencies are not particularly affected one way or the other by British Standard Time—and we hear a lot in this House about compassion—to consider carefully the hardships experienced by many as a result of this annual four-month penalty. As far back as December, 1967, Scottish Conservative Members of Parliament opposed the move to introduce B.S.T. It will be remembered that the original Bill involved a permanent change, but this was subsequently reduced to a three-year experimental period. All the fears which my hon. Friends—and, indeed, hon. Members opposite also—expressed at that time have, unfortunately, materialised.
Today, however, we have a free vote, and I hope that hon. Members, on both sides, will not hesitate to vote against the continuance of this most unhappy experiment. On a free vote Parliament has not always reflected the wishes of the people, but I hope that tonight this House will vote to end British Standard Time.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Donald Stewart (Western Isles)
In rising to make my maiden speech, I ask the House for its usual indulgence. 1345 I understand that I shall be in order if I congratulate the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray). I do it all the more readily since he has touched on several points which I had hoped to cover. My congratulations to the hon. Member are sincere for all that. The hon. Member suffers in his constituency the same disabilities as we do.
If I stray into controversial matters, they will, in a sense, be impartial controversies, since as a Nationalist Member I shall be in controversy with both sides of the House from time to time. For that reason, if I stray I hope that it will be less objectionable to the traditions of the House.
I have the honour to represent the Western Isles. My constituency has several records, many of which we would be better without. For years, if not decades, we have had the highest unemployment figures in Britain, running during the last few months at over 25 per cent. of the employed population. I invite hon. Members to consider what those figures would mean in their constituencies. Yet no Government, whatever their label, who have sat here have ever taken action to deal with the special problem of the Western Isles.
Having said that, it would be churlish of me to pass from it without commending the Labour Government for setting up the Highlands and Islands Development Board. Although we in the West, apart from the fisheries scheme, have not received from the board all that we had expected, the Secretary of State for Scotland has now appointed a Western Islander to the board. That is something for which I thank him and which has been widely welcomed in my constituency. We look forward, therefore, to a better share in the future.
Our emigration figures are appalling Per head of the population, we send the highest number of students in Britain to the universities, and yet only a tiny fraction of them come back to take up employment in their own environment. The cost of living is extremely high. High freight costs prevent new development. The whole system of transport on the West of Scotland needs review, and I have already asked the Secretary of State to set up an investigation to that end.
I would have preferred to deal in a maiden speech with the great problems of 1346 unemployment or high freight costs, transport and communities in my constituency without light, without piped water and without roads, but British Standard Time affects my constituency more than any other and, therefore, I decided to speak on this issue tonight.
On British Standard Time, my constituents are again at the end of the queue. We are not the furthest north—the Orkneys and Shetlands are further north—but, as hon. Members will know, the sun rises in the British Isles in a line roughly south-west to north-east and in the middle of December it is 10.15 in the morning before we begin to see a blink of daylight.
Demands for the abolition of British Standard Time have come from many sources. The hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty has mentioned some of them. I have received letters from the National Federation of Building Trade Employers, the Scottish National Federation of Building Trade Employers, the National Farmers' Union of Scotland, the National Farmers' Union—which, I presume, is "shorthand" for the National Farmers' Union of England—the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers, the Union of Post Office Workers, the Scottish Inshore White Fish Producers' Association, and so on. The Church of Scotland presbyteries of the three northern counties have come out strongly against the continuance of British Standard Time. Local authorities in Scotland have voted four times as many for a reversal to Greenwich Mean Time as have voted for the retention of British Standard Time.
In Glasgow University experiments have been going on which seem to prove that there is some compromise of physical and mental abilities due to this change in the clock, something on the lines of what occurs when one flies across the Atlantic. This is a serious aspect of the matter.
Public opinion polls would indicate that there is a case for abolishing British Standard Time. I mention public opinion polls with diffidence, as I understand that they do not enjoy quite the status that they had before 18th June.
Central European Time is really what we are discussing. It has little relevance to England and none at all to Scotland. It is pleasant to know that several hon. 1347 Members from English constituencies, some of them in the south, have indicated to me that they intend to vote for the abolition of British Standard Time.
It would be presumptuous of me to issue a warning to the House in a maiden speech, but I invite hon. Members who may be thinking of voting to continue British Standard Time to consider the inference which may be drawn in Scotland if the will of a majority of the Scottish Members is frustrated by a majority from areas affected by British Standard Time in only a very minor way or not at all. The ridiculous imposition of this British Standard Time should now be ended in the name of equity and common sense.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Miss Mary Holt (Preston, North)
I ask for the indulgent ear of the House for a maiden speech.
Preston, North is my constituency. The town of Preston has been represented in this House from at least 1295, possibly earlier. Since 1950 the northern part of the town, combined with the Urban District of Forward, has constituted the constituency which I represent.
It is a combined industrial and residential area. As a native Prestonian, I am proud to represent my own town, and it will be my aspiration to try to display to hon. Members a few of the qualities of grit, determination, initiative, enterprise and, not least, good humour which characterises the people of Preston. A few of those qualities have made their aircraft, their engineering, their textiles and some of their other products world-famous.
It must be borne in mind, from a reading of the Review of B.S.T., that it is largely based on sample surveys of the population. The first section describes the result of a social survey. After dividing the country into three zones, a survey was carried out in two stages, the first in December, 1969, and the second in February and early March, 1970. On page 10 the Review states:The samples provided fully representative views within each of the three main zones and, in all, nearly 7,000 people were interviewed.Based on those samples, percentages are then given for the three different zones as to the possibility of reversion to the pre- 1348 vious dual time system. I have a grave distrust of sample surveys. Never will I forget the sample surveys with which the nation was regaled by various newspapers before the last General Election, and how they were almost universally proved to be wrong.
As for the survey on B.S.T., during the whole of the time it was being taken I was resident in Preston, yet I have not met a soul who was interviewed in that survey. If one breaks down the survey figure between the three areas, it means that about 2,330 people were interview in the area described as "N and W", which I presume to mean North and West, and which, according to the Review, has a population of about 22 million. This must allow for a grave sampling error.
Figure 4 in the Review purports to give the figure of those in favour of B.S.T. as against those in favour of the old system, but how these figures can be reconciled with chart 3 is inexplicable, since 53 per cent. in December, 1949, and 51 per cent. in February to March, 1970, in the North and West area are stated to be in favour of B.S.T. although it appears from the previous chart that everybody was undecided, apart from those who spoke definitely and those who spoke with the qualification "on the whole". If one adds those two figures together relating to the North and West, they do not add up to either 50 per cent. or 51 per cent.
In terms of percentages, I draw the attention of hon. Members to the fact that if one totals up the figures for the North and West in chart 3, they add up not to 100 per cent., as they should, but to 101 per cent., which makes me even more suspicious of the figures.
Preston falls within the Northern zone, where lighting-up time on 21st December would normally be 4 p.m. G.M.T. and 5 p.m. B.S.T. In the mornings, it would be 8.40 for G.M.T. and 9.40 for B.S.T. It is also in one of the wettest parts of the country where theoretical lighting-up time and sunrise seldom correspond with reality through the heavy clouds bringing in the rain formerly so beneficial to the cotton industry.
Preston has many industrial workers who begin work at 7.30 a.m. and many building and construction workers who start at 8 a.m. It is a question not just 1349 of getting up in the dark—nobody minds that—but of going to work in pitch darkness and continuing to work in darkness as well as return home in total obscurity which saps a man's will to work. In a town like Preston, it is not just industrial and outdoor workers who are affected but also office workers and children. Under B.S.T., children going to school at 8.45 a.m. are in total darkness on many mornings while the rain pours down on them. People are not as prepared for darkness in the mornings as they are at night. As the traffic roars by, children on their way to school are put at a totally unjustifiable risk, despite their fluorescent clothing.
I have seen Preston lollipop women escorting children across the road to school in the dark in the early morning having to jump back out of the way of traffic which has roared by.
Admittedly, the Pedestrian Association on Road Safety has quoted a fall of 579 in the number of fatal and serious casualties among all road users in the two years following the introduction of B.S.T., but the association's figures include the results of the breathalyser, and, as has been pointed out, the resultant figures must be viewed with caution. However, the association quotes a net increase of 44 in the number of fatal and serious child casualties. Children are the least able to take care of themselves, and any system of time which helps to protect children will have my support.
Outdoor workers are almost wholly opposed to B.S.T. The President of the Preston Association of the National Federation of Building Trades Employers wrote to me on 7th November asking me to vote against the continuation of B.S.T. I hasten to assure an earlier speaker that I have absolutely no interest in this subject other than my constituency interest. The president of this organisation wrote:Surveys which have been conducted by the Ministry of Public Building and Works and by the British Federation of Building Trades Employers clearly show that B.S.T. is overwhelmingly opposed by the construction industry as a whole—both employers and operatives—on the grounds that it has been responsible for reducing productivity and for raising costs in the industry by at least £30 million a year.Dealing with the reasons for the increase in costs, he wrote:Basically it is because the building industry traditionally starts work at 8 a.m.—or 7.30 a.m. in rural areas—and it is necessary in the darkest 1350 months of the year either for the hours of starting to be changed or for sites to be lit. If the hours are changed—and operatives by and large are not disposed to accept such change readily—serious difficulties arise by virtue of the fact that operatives, lorries delivering materials and plant get caught up in the main rush hour, and delays occur in heavy traffic areas which affect attendance on site in the first hour. If the hours are not changed, either artificial lighting has to be provided at considerable expense to builder and client—or it is impossible for work to be carried on satisfactorily in the first hour because it is too dark.Even if lighting is provided, there may still be serious problems arising from the fact that scaffolding may be frosty and dangerous. In either case, building firms have generally found that there is a considerable drop in output in the first hour of working in the darkest months. The difficulties, of course, are greatly intensified in the North of England and in Scotland.Postmen are also against B.S.T. Anybody who has seen a postman trying to deliver letters in the morning in the pouring rain with the aid of a tiny torch will have sympathy with the Preston postman who said to me only last week, "If this B.S.T. goes on, all the postmen will need spectacles."
Outdoor workers represent some of the most important industrial workers in Britain. The building of houses is surely one of the main priorities of any Government. We cannot allow the construction industry to be hampered. Too many homes for too many families depend upon it. Farming is our largest industry and is of incalculable value to our balance of payments.
The needs of industries such as these are vital to our well-being and should take priority over those who prefer B.S.T. for their sporting and leisure activities. Indoor workers and the South can manage with either system. The North and outdoor workers cannot. The nation should accommodate itself to them. I shall vote against the continuation of B.S.T.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
It is a very rare pleasure to congratulate three hon. Members on their maiden speeches but I am sure that the House will want me warmly and enthusiastically to congratulate the three colleagues who have just spoken. They have spoken with brevity, which is always commendable, and with lucid clarity. They have shown a logical approach which has led them to a conclusion which I regard 1351 as inevitable. I hope that on future occasions they will make the same approach and that all four of us will reach the same conclusion, probably to the upset of the Whips. I congratulate them, too, on seizing this opportunity to speak for their constituents: only rarely do we get the chance to speak directly for those who have sent us here. The three hon. Members have taken that chance, and I am sure that all their constituents will appreciate it.
I do not intend, Mr. Speaker, to make a speech. I am sure that you will be delighted to hear that, as will other hon. Members. I want only to follow the Continental custom of giving an explanation of vote.
Some time ago I took the hazardous course of inviting my constituents to guide me on this matter. I regret to say that I got an infinitesimal response. However, statisticians would tell me that Sunderland is apparently unanimously against the continuance of British Standard Time. I do not have farmers in my constituency, but I have found, as have other hon. Members, that the constructional and building trades are against B.S.T., as are the Post Office workers. In particular, the mothers of small children going to school are against it.
I also discovered, and this was the result not of my scientific survey but of a casual conversation with him, that one of our leading industrialists who has interests both on the Continent and in America believed that the argument about the present system affecting industrialists' relationships with those either on the Continent or in America was nonsense. He said that any firm that would be affected by such a consideration should not be in business. I believe that to be right.
§ Mr. Michael McGuire (Ince)
My right hon. Friend said that mothers of school children have told him that British Standard Time is a disadvantage. My own observation as a parent is that children have little time in the morning—the time schedule for getting to school is tight—but coming home from school they tend to have more time to linger, so that the extra hour then is bound to be an advantage. Does he agree?
I do not agree at all. I am acting as rapporteur for those who have made representations to me, and that view has been put to me.
My own observations on travelling north lead me to believe that as a result of this present system things become more unpleasant as one proceeds. Having declared my reasons, I intend to oppose the Motion.
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Ernle Money (Ipswich)
I crave your indulgence and that of the House, Mr. Speaker. As successor to the proud title of my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) as possessor of the smallest majority, it is with some trepidation that I now address the House. Nevertheless, I take great comfort from the fact that my hon. Friend has increased his majority by at least 2,000 per cent.
It gives me great pleasure to pay tribute to Sir Dingle Foot, my predecessor as hon. Member for Ipswich. He is an outstanding adornment of my own profession. He contributed much to the life of the borough, and he is a man of the greatest personal and moral courage.
Both Cobbett and Defoe found the Borough of Ipswich to be neat, thriving and well conducted, and I hope that a visitor to East Anglia would find it so today. One thing that most travellers have discovered about Ipswich is that it is certainly a place where the inhabitants are wont to speak their mind, and to speak it with some vigour. They did so on 18th June, and they have certainly spoken so to me on a variety of subjects since, but on none with greater vigour than on British Standard Time.
My impression from speaking with hon. and right hon. Members on both sides is that there is an overwhelming preponderance in favour of getting rid of the present thoroughly unsatisfactory state of affairs, but from my own county borough I have had indications of a universal preponderance. Every letter I have had has been in favour of going back to the old and happier state of affairs. It may be that this is because we are a major industrial borough, relying for our prosperity on our docks and industry, and our connection with the farming industry around us.
1353 I respectfully submit that any hon. Member is bound to reiterate the arguments that have gone before, because the voice of the nation has spoken so clearly, but in every case I have had there has been reference to the same things—the loss of productivity, the danger, the disadvantage, the increase in accidents, and the sheer tediousness of the present experiment. Indeed, the only members of the population—apart from golfers, who were, I understand, mentioned earlier—who have felt strongly about keeping the present system are those of the criminal profession who specialise in burglary. I understand that the extra hour comes conveniently for them at one end. However, I am comforted by reflecting that what is bad for burglars may be good for the Bar.
The overwhelming voice of my constituency seems to be echoed by the voice of the nation. Doubt has been thrown, perhaps with some reason, on the opinion polls. My hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Miss Holt) was even able to find an opinion poll which did not add up either numerically or by results. But the most recent poll—the Harris poll this morning—showed a figure of 57 per cent. in favour of Greenwich Mean Time, 37 per cent. in favour of British Standard Time, and 6 per cent.—perhaps the traditional 6 per cent.—"Don't knows". I hope that we are pushing at an open door, and I am quite convinced that we have the bulk of the nation pushing behind us.
§ 6.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Doig (Dundee, West)
I represent a Scottish constituency, but I support the Order. The vote will be between the interests of Scotland and those of the rest of the country. That is quite wrong.
British Summer Time was first introduced for the purpose of allowing more people to enjoy more daylight hours. We can neither reduce nor increase the number of daylight hours, but we can increase the number of people who can take advantage of them and enjoy them. British Summer Time had the serious drawback that it meant changing the clocks twice a year. Whether the reason for the opposition to it was simply normal British conservatism against change 1354 of any kind I do not know, but there was a job to get British Summer Time introduced. It has been in being for about 50 years. I know of nobody who wants to go back to Greenwich Mean Time all the year round. There was initially opposition to the former step, as there is opposition to this step. In the summer far more people can enjoy the extra hour of daylight at night than can enjoy it in the morning.
How many people can enjoy the extra hour of daylight in the afternoon in the winter as against the extra hour in the morning? There is a fairly easy way to check this. How many people do we meet on the roads between eight and nine o'clock in the morning and between four and five or five and six o'clock in the afternoon? There are far more people and vehicles on the roads in the afternoon peak period than in the morning period. That is borne out by the accident rates.
One of the most important considerations is the number of road accidents. Over 1,000 people are killed or seriously injured every day on the roads in this country, and anything we can do to reduce that number should be welcomed. There were objections to the breathalyser when it was introduced. Now everybody accepts it, and nobody would think of scrapping it. A book which has just been published clearly shows that the total of accidents has reduced. It is true that the number has increased in the mornings, but it has reduced in the afternoons. Taking the two periods together, the reduction is 3.8 per cent. over the whole of Britain and, for some reason beyond me, 8.6 per cent. in Scotland. Many people who would otherwise be involved in accidents are avoiding them. As over 1,000 people are killed or injured every day on the roads, many people's lives are being saved and many people are avoiding serious injury by British Standard Time. This is the factor which weighs most with me. How often have we said that no Government should object to spending money on measures which save lives?
Let me turn to the objections to British Standard Time. Initially, the farmers' objection was that the feeding hours for cattle could not be changed. The farmers said that changing the clocks twice a 1355 year was a tremendous nuisance to them. Now that we have obviated that change, the farmers are still complaining. That is not surprising, because no matter what Governments do for farmers they will always complain. Therefore, I do not think we need worry too much about them.
I am sorry, but I forgot to refer earlier to the excellent maiden speech of the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money). Although I disagreed with what he said, the speech was excellently delivered. It was made in a very capable way, and we shall be pleased to hear him speak again in future.
I have no farms in my constiuency, but for some reason unknown to me the National Farmers' Union, the Scottish National Farmers' Union and even the farmers around my constituency continually send me literature. They continually want to take me round their farms. I go because I am an obliging person.
§ Mr. Hugh D. Brown (Glasgow, Provan)
My hon. Friend is not doing himself justice. He is being much too fair to the farmers. Surely he will agree that one of the reasons for their opposition to British Standard Time is that it was introduced by a Labour Government. There is no more to it in that.
§ Mr. Doig
That may be so. I have found that the majority of them are anti-Labour.
With my right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. George Thomson), I visited a number of farms in my area on a conducted tour. One farmer had read a speech which I had made some time ago on this subject in the Scottish Grand Committee. He said, "Here is the Member who supports British Standard Time." We had a lengthy argument, at the end of which he said to me, "Give me one good reason for it". I said "Right. It will save you changing the clocks twice a year. It will save you much trouble." He said, "That is the first good reason that I have heard for it".
He then asked me to talk to his cattleman, who is responsible for doing the most awkward part of his work. I discovered that it was not two changes but eight changes a year which were involved. When the clocks were altered, he 1356 changed his animal feeding time four times at 15-minute intervals. I take it that that was the typical situation on most farms. The cattleman was not concerned about whether the system was changed or not, rather to the surprise of his boss, the farmer.
I turn now to the question of the postmen, for whom I have a great deal of sympathy. I object to postmen being bitten by dogs, and I introduced a Bill about it. I used to start work very early in the morning—four o'clock. I saw the postmen wending their way to the post office between five and six o'clock in the morning. They started their deliveries at six o'clock. Invariably, in a large constituency like mine, they finish their deliveries by eight o'clock. Therefore, British Standard Time does not affect them. They are having their breakfast at the relevant time. By the time they go out on their second delivery it is daylight.
Of all the people who have written to me about this matter, the builders have a legitimate grievance. British Standard Time must cost them money—and money is always very precious to Conservatives and businessmen. If British Standard Time results in reducing accidents, as the survey clearly shows, the extra cost to the builders, which is passed on to somebody else anyway, is a small price to pay.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
The hon. Gentleman seems to be worried about the question of reducing accidents. Has he noticed that in order to arrive at that conclusion the authors of the survey had to add together the results of the two years—the one before the advent of the breathalyser and the one after it—before British Standard Time was introduced. A comparison with the year before the introduction of British Standard Time does not show that there was a reduction in accidents. The hon. Gentleman has fallen into the trap which the impartial statisticians fell into.
§ Mr. Doig
The report that I have read makes it clear that its authors have gone out of their way to make allowances for such matters as the introduction of the breathalyser and that, even so, a reduction in the number of accidents was still shown.
It is simply explained. In the morning, drivers have only just started their day. 1357 They are still fresh. By the afternoon, they are not so fresh. It is a well known fact that drivers tend to become a little more reckless as they near the end of a journey than they were at the start. I used to have a boss who brought cars up from the South of England. Invariably, he crashed them on the last 20 miles. When a driver gets to the last lap of his journey, he tends to be that much more careless. He is more likely to be careful at the start of his journey.
We have heard several references to the problems of school children. However, I think that the vast majority of children are accompanied to their schools in the mornings, whereas they are less likely to have their parents meet them out of school in the afternoons.
If one attempts to discover the balance of advantages and disadvantages, it boils down to the greater number who benefit by having an extra hour of daylight at either end of the day. For example, the vast majority of non-working housewives rarely go out during the first hour of daylight in the morning under the old system. The same applies to retired people and very young children. However, nearly all these groups go for a walk in the afternoon. Under the old system, they will have to return home fairly early if they want to be sure of getting back safely. It must be remembered, too, that older people are more accident-prone than young children. In a period of twilight or darkness, motorists cannot see old people, but old people can see motorists, but, unfortunately, they have not the agility to get out of the motorists' way. Younger people have. As I say, these people are out in the afternoons far more than in the mornings, and this is probably one reason why the accident figures have been reduced.
For those reasons, I support the Order, and I am convinced that it is well worth supporting.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, South)
I oppose the continuation of British Standard Time. There is no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland wish to see this absurd experiment abolished. That is certainly the case in Edinburgh and among members of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.
1358 In the last Parliament when I launched two Motions to get rid of the experiment, it was significant that they were both supported by every single Unionist Member, including two members of the then Shadow Cabinet, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. Gordon Campbell). It is not usual for members of a Shadow Cabinet to sign Motions of this sort. They did, and their action showed the strength of their feeling and that of all Unionist Members representing Scottish constituencies.
Like all other right hon. and hon. Members, I have received representations and documents from a great many organisations. They need not have sent them to me because I have been against the rotten experiment from the start, but they did. That from the National Farmers' Union in England and the N.F.U. in Scotland was extremely well argued and convincing. So were the documents and representations that I received from the building trade employers and the civil engineering organisations. There seems to be no doubt that B.S.T. is costing the building trade about £50 million a year, and I am told that it may be as much as £8 million in Scotland. These are sums that we cannot afford.
The document which impressed me most was the one from the Union of Post Office Workers. It says quite definitely that work and efficiency have suffered as a result of B.S.T. With postmen having to deliver in darkness and in all kinds of weather, often in badly lit streets and even worse lit stairways, accidents have increased. The union tells me that for the first two years of the B.S.T. experiment accidents in the months of September to February between 7 and 9 a.m. have more than doubled. I do not know what the hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) will think but, according to official figures, the number of accidents to postmen has gone up from 1,104 before B.S.T. to 2,287 last year, during the experiment.
I have received many letters from individuals, mostly in Scotland, though some from England. All except two have been against the experiment.
I do not think that any case has been made out for B.S.T. We are told that 1359 it is better for people to communicate with the Continent. But Italy is on a different time scale. That argument is, clearly, exploded.
I suggest that the whole problem, if it is a problem, is that those who favour B.S.T. are not all that ardent about it and very often are not personally affected. On the other hand, a large body of opinion feels strongly, for economic reasons, because of their children, because of the nature of their outdoor work or on grounds of health. In equity and because these people are so deeply involved, it seems to me that the decision should go in their favour. I hope that the House will agree. Certainly Scotland, Ulster and large parts of the North of England will welcome with relief and gratitude a return to the old system and to G.M.T.
Before I sit down, let me join in the congratulations which have been extended to our maiden speakers. They have spoken shortly, clearly and with great confidence. The House looks forward to hearing them all again.
§ 6.58 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff. South-East)
I hope that the House will forgive me if I intervene at this point to give a personal view. We have now had nine or 10 speeches, and the beginning game is certainly over; we are now well into the middle of it, and, with all deference to hon. Members who may follow me, I am not sure whether there will be many new arguments. I think that we shall hear the old arguments, no doubt represented in more attractive ways.
I, too, want to congratulate our maiden speakers. We have heard from the hon. Members for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray), Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart), Ipswich (Mr. Money), and Preston, North (Miss Holt), all of whom spoke with real passion and concern on a subject which affects their constituents closely. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) said, they do not often get opportunities of this sort.
Perhaps I might utter one cautionary word. In saying that hon. Members on the Opposition benches are to have a free vote, I hope that no one casting a vote tonight, whichever way he casts his, thinks 1360 that he will dispose of the issue or that if the Order is defeated we are likely to return to some Utopian state of bliss from which we were rudely plucked three years ago.
The origin of the matter, if I may remind the House, was that there was great pressure both on the Conservative Government up to 1964 and on the Labour Government after 1964 to alter the system to which there is now such passion to return. The Government of the day, whether the Conservative Government or the Government of which I was a member, were consistently pressed by a growing number of interests which complained that the system for which there is now such enthusiasm was increasingly unpopular, was difficult, was leading to great distortions in industry and considerable unpleasantness for farmers. Generally, I think it fair to say, most of the arguments we have heard this evening were used in respect of the system to which hon. Gentlemen now want to return. I utter that cautionary word because I have had a feeling, hearing the enthusiasm with which some hon. Members have spoken, that they think that they will dispose of the issue. I do not believe that they will.
In my view, what will happen if, as I gather, the Order is defeated overwhelmingly—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] In view of those loud cheers, let me say that, if there is any hon. Member on the other side who wants to tell, I shall be glad to go into the Lobby with him. Let there be at least one brave man keeping the gate.
If the Order is to be overwhelmingly defeated, as I gather from the voices it is, the next pressures which hon. Members find will be, first, upon the Government to extend the period of summer time and, second, complaints about the double change of clock. That is what will happen.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I shall not give way at the moment. I am trying to analyse what the situation is likely to be. The plain truth—no one can escape from this—is that we do not have sufficient hours of light in Britain in the winter, and it is a question of how we dispose of them to the best advantage. There are just 1361 not enough hours of light to go round, and however we play with them, however we change them, whether we make more hours of daylight in the morning or in the evening, we shall not satisfy everyone.
It so happens—I respect this view—that Scotland, so we are told, feels very deeply on this issue. May I say a word about the philosophy of it? The Home Secretary, who kept his head down—to the point where he is now invisible—said that he was not quite sure what the philosophy of things of this sort were. [An HON. MEMBER: "Was."] All right, was. I always concede to the hon. Gentleman on a point of grammar, if on very little else.
I think that the philosophy is this, if I may put it in a sentence. The majority should prevail, but they should take care not to outrage the feelings of the minorities. This is a pure matter of judgment, and, therefore, I feel that those of us who—[Interruption.] Perhaps I ought to put it the other way. Am I not in the minority, and should I not raise my voice? The real point in terms of population is that the comparatively small population in Scotland is very adversely affected, or feels itself to be very adversely affected. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not only Scotland."] Not only—but the maps are drawn in a most interesting way. For example, I was not aware, until I saw Fig. 1 in the Command Paper showing sunrise and sunset zones on 21st December, that Plymouth, Cardiff and Hull are in the South-East of England. It will certainly come as news to my constituents.
At any rate, in terms of where the thick line is drawn, South-East England covers a considerable proportion of the population, and the intermediate zone further up covers a large part, too. We are, therefore, talking basically about Scotland, although to some extent—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman, who has just made his maiden speech, must not persist if the right hon. Gentleman does not give way.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Gentleman has now tried to interrupt me twice, and he tried to interrupt the hon. Member who spoke before me. I am delighted to give way to him if he wants to create a precedent.
§ Mr. Money
I am sorry if I am creating a precedent. The right hon. Gentleman has thrown doubt upon the figures as they apply to the South, but may I remind him of the latest returns given by an opinion poll for which, at least during the election campaign, he was heard to express some enthusiasm? This is the comparison between Scotland and the rest of the country, as revealed by that opinion poll. In Scotland 71 per cent. were against British Standard Time and 17 per cent. were in favour. In the North of England 56 per cent. were against B.S.T. and 32 per cent. were in favour. In the Midlands 57 per cent. were against and 33 per cent. in favour. In the South 54 per cent. were against B.S.T. and 32 per cent. in favour. It does not appear, with respect—
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. I was coming to those figures. I shall now make my own speech, whether hon. Gentlemen opposite disagree or not. I was saying that, basically, the complaints are coming from Scotland.
§ Mr. Callaghan
It may not be the hon. Gentleman's view, but I have the Floor and I intend to say this and stick to it. The majority of complaints are coming from Scotland. If hon. Members who do not like what I am saying catch Mr. Speaker's eye, they will be able to say something different. I am giving my view.
I was saying, in relation to the fact that there is a comparatively small minority of people there, that it is vital, because the large population is elsewhere, that we do not outrage the feelings of a relatively small number of people. On the philosophy of the matter, I ask myself whether we should be doing that.
Great doubt is cast on all these figures in the Social Survey. I congratulate the Home Secretary on the preparation of the statistics. Hon. Members will select the statistics which they like. There is only one statistic in this document which they do like, and it has been cited time after time in the debate. I refer to the statistic in the section on building and 1363 constructional engineering, which says that the increased cost to the construction industry is £30 million a year. Every hon. Gentleman who is opposed to the Order likes that figure. I wish to goodness that hon. Members would read the qualifications in paragraph 125. They might not place quite so much reliance on it then. But it is not my case to cast particular doubt on the figures, save to say that I agree entirely with the Home Secretary that all of them should be treated with considerable caution. If the other figures are to be treated with considerable caution, so should that figure of £30 million with reference to increased costs in the construction industry. I shall not weary the House by reading the qualifications.
It appears from the figures on page 10 of the survey, if one isolates Scotland for this purpose, as though, between the first census in December, 1969, and the second one in February-March, 1970, rather more people thought that we should keep the new system—were not sure, but thought that perhaps we should keep it, and so on—than thought so on the first occasion. Is that not in accordance with the general experience of hon. Members? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It is certainly in accordance with my experience that members of the public resisted the change very strongly and that, since it has been made, more have come to accept it or acquiesce in it.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Gentleman must contain himself. I am giving my views, and I intend to continue, whether the hon. Gentleman likes them or not.
§ Mr. Callaghan
No, I will not. The hon. Gentleman has for some minutes been making noises from a sedentary position. He has a strong constituency interest which he has always represented, but he must make his own speech in his own time.
I was saying that I believe it to be in accordance with the experience of a number of us that the public, having started off by disliking the system, have moved to a neutral or a favourable position. I venture the view that if we were to 1364 change back now there would be a large number of complaints because we were changing once again. I believe that that would be likely. So I do not take the view that we should be outraging the opinion of Scotland.
I imagine that on an issue like this all of us have tried to ascertain what our constituencies feel. Here, I express my mistrust of percentages. If I report the percentage in my constituency who, on my information, are opposed to British Standard Time, I have to tell the House that the figures are 92 per cent. opposed and 8 per cent. in favour. That was made up of 12 letters against and one in favour, out of 70,000 constituents. But it is 92 per cent.
I must say that I mistrust some of these other percentages which are being flung around just as much. I take the view that there is a large measure of indifference about this, but, on the whole, I believe that more people like the longer evenings than hate the dark mornings. This is exactly my view; I hate the dark mornings and I like the light evenings. If one can be subjective about it, I think I would prefer the light evenings to the beastliness of the dark mornings. Everybody has his own feeling, and that happens to be mine. I believe my opinion is shared by what I call the silent majority. I believe the silent majority take just about this middle view.
There are more important issues. There is the question of road accidents. The latest information we have, which the Home Secretary did not have this afternoon although it was put into the Library today, is from the Road Research Laboratory. This information is interesting because it shows not only that there is no increase in accidents but, if the figures are to be believed, that there is an actual saving of life as a result of the change. According to these figures, the number of people who would have been killed or seriously injured has been lessened to the following extent: South-East England, 700; South-West England, 150; Central England, 450; Northern England, 900; Wales about 25; Southern Scotland about 25; Central Scotland, 350; North-East Scotland, 100; Northern Scotland, a small decrease—fewer than 20.
This is the conclusion of the Road Research Laboratory. Everybody will 1365 dissect the figures as he likes, but I think this is a new piece of evidence which should be before the House. If it is right to say that there are 2,700 people walking about who might have been either dead or seriously injured, this is surely a factor which the House should take into account and should offset against the disadvantages which undoubtedly exist.
I come particularly to the three groups which suffer disadvantage, first the farmers and agricultural workers, who have said that it causes disruption in work and that they would prefer to go back to the old system; and, secondly, the Union of Post Office Workers which says that the accident rate of postmen has increased. I quite agree, and so I think will everybody in this House. Any of us who has done any canvassing in an autumn election by torchlight will know exactly what the postmen have to put up with. But I think my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) put the matter into the right perspective when he spoke of the great number of postmen whose rounds are completed before it gets light in the morning and who use torches irrespective of what happens.
Thirdly, there are the construction workers, whose case has been put very effectively in a maiden speech by the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray). There are, at a rough estimate, 1½ million of these construction workers. There are 25 million workers in this country. Where does the balance come down? Where is the scale? Is it the 1½ million who are being seriously inconvenienced or the 23,500,000 who either are not inconvenienced or do not mind? We can continue to argue as we have argued this evening, and I accept the point and support the 1½ million.
Everybody is entitled to say how he thinks the balance of advantage will come down. I believe that if we take this figure of road accidents, which is a very important figure, speaking for myself, this would lead me to a different conclusion from that of the majority of the House. I am not particularly impressed by the commercial arguments or the arguments for the sporting interests or for communications with the Continent. In the end, if I had to decide, it would be upon this basis, that on balance the majority of people in this country do not mind, but there is, I believe, a pretty well estab- 1366 lished reduction in road accidents so far as can be shown.
For that reason, therefore, if a Division is called tonight, because I do not believe that we shall solve the problem and the great majority of the House is against me—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Very well, we shall see. But if a Division is called, I would feel that, on the whole, because we shall not dispose of this problem just by voting down this Order, but because I believe it is making a material difference to road safety and because I believe a lot of the complaints about it have been overstated, I shall go into the Lobby in support of the Order.
§ 7.16 p.m.
§ Mr. W. H. K. Baker (Banff)
I shall not follow the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) in the arguments which he has adduced because I am totally and utterly opposed to what he said, both in fact and in the effect that the present system is having upon my constituents and on the greater proportion of the population of Scotland. I think the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) will agree that the effects on the people in Scotland are much more marked than the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said. It applies not only to agriculture, to the postmen and so on; it applies even more forcibly to the man in the street.
Let me take one example in my constituency. People with children who go to school and have to travel long distances find that their children, under the previous system, went to school in the dark. But now, they not only go to school in the dark; they have to come back in the dark as well. The whole thing is completely topsy-turvy, and I hope the House will throw out this Order.
I want to make a specific plea on behalf of the inshore fishermen. My hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray), in a most excellent maiden speech—and I join with others in congratulating him as well as the other maiden speakers this evening—has already touched on this point, namely, that the inshore fishermen, because of this timing, lose one shot per day. In other words, if they are making four shots per day in normal times, because they can only work in the light and because the markets do not alter their time of operation—obviously, the 1367 fish have to be got away south to the centres of population—the boats have to get in at the same time.
Here is one industry that is definitely being badly affected. I am told that this applies to most of the inshore fishing industry in the United Kingdom. It certainly adversely affects the inshore fishermen in my constituency and in Scotland as a whole, from the west to the east coast, from north to south.
I have a letter from the Secretary of the Scottish Inshore White Fish Producers' Association referring to the port of Ayr. He says:… in the case of Ayr, the market closes at 7.30 p.m. and an attempt to extend the market hours was refused for various reasons and also because there would be a delay in icing and packing fish and at least an hour's delay in the departure of lorries carrying fish to the markets in the Midlands and South of England.I have no doubt whatever that the inshore fishing industry will benefit from a return to the former system. I hope very much that the Order will be turned down. I suggest that hon. Members who have any doubts on the subject should remember our brave fishermen who are suffering loss through British Standard Time.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)
The words of the hon. Member for Banff (Mr. W. H. K. Baker) are typical of the kind of argument presented on this subject. He said that he was totally and utterly opposed to British Standard Time. Those words are significant on a matter about which there is so much admitted indifference and in which many fine points are involved. Yet the hon. Gentleman can talk about being totally and utterly opposed. For anyone to use such words on a matter of this kind suggests to me that he has not done much thinking about it. He is simply allowing his emotions to well up.
§ Mr. W. H. K. Baker
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that if he, like me, had talked to his constituents, weighed up their opinions, taken account of the letters he received and then had a specific case of damage, he too would be totally and absolutely opposed?
§ Mr. Lawson
I disagree. We should look into the history of the matter. If we do so we see how marginal the matter 1368 has been in many cases, and how in many others the nation has been compelled willy-nilly to accept greater and greater uniformity. For example, I was surprised to learn that it was not until about 1880 that Greenwich Mean Time was legally established for Great Britain as a whole. We talk as if Greenwich Mean Time were nature-given, but it results only from a line drawn arbitrarily. Many other lines could be accepted. The practice, certainly until well into the middle of the last century, which is not so long ago, was to base an area's time on local clocks or perhaps on the sun. But it was found that Great Britain had to have a uniform or agreed time, and accordingly we had the adoption of Grenwich Mean Time in about 1880. It was not until 1884 that it was adopted internationally.
§ Mr. John Brewis (Galloway)
As the bulk of the British Isles is to the west of the Greenwich meridian, British Standard Time plus about an hour and a quarter would be the correct local time for us, so it has gone far too far the other way.
§ Mr. Lawson
I have some of the figures here in the excellent White Paper. There are substantial differences in different parts of the country. I should like to compare London and Glasgow. I will take Glasgow, not Stornoway. The hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart) made a powerful speech, but is apparently not interested in what other people have to say on the matter, so I will take Glasgow. In the middle of December, 1969, the difference between the time of sunrise in Glasgow and London was 42 minutes, and by the middle of February it was 27 minutes. The difference in the time of sunset was nine minutes in the middle of December. By January it had dropped to three minutes, and in February Glasgow had an advantage of seven minutes. Because of the geography of our country, Scotland has longer days during the summer, and during the winter we have longer nights. No juggling about with the clock will make any difference to that.
In Dublin, where Greenwich Mean Time was not legally adopted until about 1916, there are even more substantial differences. We have to operate, as we have done during this century, within considerable differences in the time as measured by the sun. We cannot go by the 1369 sun in the highly-organised, interdependent society in which we live, and therefore we agreed on Greenwich Mean Time.
When we look into the matter further we see that there has been considerable pressure for changes in that system. In about 1908–1909, some courageous spirits tried to introduce Bills to establish what we now call "Summer Time". They had a long battle to make best use of the rather meagre daylight we have at certain periods of the year. That is a very powerful argument in reply to those who say that the adoption of British Standard Time means the loss of a great deal of production. That argument is repeatedly made, but if the adoption of British Standard Time means fewer hours in which to work, and accordingly loss of production, it is very strange that it was precisely on those grounds that British Summer Time was established, as distinct from Standard Time.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
The hon. Gentleman has referred to the introduction of Bills earlier in the century to establish Summer Time, to use, as he said, the meagre daylight at certain times of the year. Would not it be more correct to say that they were to use better the ample daylight during the summer time, which is exactly the opposite of what the hon. Gentleman was saying?
§ Mr. Lawson
There was evidence that by adjusting the clock we could get more useful daylight. It is interesting that over the years the pressure has been to extend Summer Time into the winter, to shorten the period for which we return to Greenwich Mean Time. There are two Amendments on the Order Paper, but they do not propose that we should return to a fifty-fifty division of the year. I think that they propose that we should go back to Greenwich Mean Time for only about 13 to 14 weeks. The pressure, arising from experience over a long time, has been to extend British Summer Time further and further into the winter. If we are left with only about 12 to 13 weeks of Greenwich Mean Time, those farmers about whom my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) spoke so eloquently would properly have very much more to complain of.
§ Mr. David James
In case I am not called to speak, as is likely, I should 1370 explain the way in which I worked out my Amendment. I understand that the farmers want one hour extra daylight during the winter months. It is clear from the Nautical Almanac that we need use Greenwich Mean Time only from the middle of November to the middle of February to accomplish that. For the rest of the year, I am very impressed by the recreational aspects, such as the needs of people who want to garden and play golf.
§ Mr. Lawson
I am sure the hon. Gentleman would agree that that is a substantial admission of the case of those who want to continue British Standard Time. The hon. Gentleman has spoken of the farmers and the adjustments he would propose to make to suit them. I have nothing against the farmers. I should like to do all I can to help them. But there are many other people and we have to think in terms of what seems to be best for the majority, even if they have not written letters to us. We all know what we mean when we refer to "genuine" letters from constituents as distinct from an organised circular letter, and I have had only one genuine letter on this issue. I have to admit that it is against British Standard Time. If I went among my constituents, I would find, obviously, that many would be for British Standard Time and many would be against. In these circumstances, I have to use my own judgment.
I want to take up the point about judging from experience. In 1916, the nation adopted British Summer Time and has continued with it, with certain modifications. What is important is that during our most difficult years—I refer to the last war—the years when the need to mobilise our productive capacity was greatest, we continued with what we now call British Standard Time. We did not go back during those years, from about 1940 until well into 1945, to Greenwich Mean Time. But during the summers we added an hour and had Double Summer Time. It is significant also that, in 1947, when the nation was in great difficulty over fuel supplies, we reverted again to Double Summer Time. Here is the evidence of what the nation did in circumstances when it seemed that it had the greatest possible need to provide daylight during which the maximum effort could be made by our people.
§ Dr. Alan Glyn (Windsor)
The hon. Gentleman mentioned the question of loss of production but did not pursue it. Does not he agree that the loss of an hour's daylight is serious for the building trade, as it is for agriculture?
§ Mr. Lawson
I agree in some cases, if there is no adjustment in time, but there can also be considerable savings. No one has yet mentioned the electricity industry. We understand that it calculates that, if it is allowed to operate on the basis of British Standard Time, which means spreading the load, it will save about £100 million in terms of equipment.
I want to touch on one or two aspects which seem significant. For example, two surveys were made, one in the December period of 1969 and the second in the February-March period of 1970. There was a substantial movement of opinion between those two surveys in most of the areas of Scotland. For all the doubts one might have about sampling opinion, the surveys were quite scientifically done.
On this basis, in December there was a net of those who, on balance, favoured British Summer Time. There was a net plus of 16 per cent. in the South-East in December and a net plus of 19 per cent in February-March; in the North-West, there was a net plus of 19 per cent. in December and a net plus of 20 per cent. in February-March. In Scotland, there was a minus against of 24 per cent. during December and this moved to a minus of only 4 per cent. in the February-March period.
These figures are significant in indicating a shift of opinion out of experience of advantages. People were constantly being fired at by propaganda in Scotland of a nationalist character. They were told that Scots were being compelled to toe the line because of people in London, and so forth. Nevertheless, even in Scotland there was this shift of opinion.
Let us look at the opinions of representative bodies. No one could be more concerned about this matter than the teachers. Yet, of all the educational organisations in Scotland, only the Headmistresses Association was against British Standard Time. The other teaching organisations were in favour of its permanent adoption. The local authorities showed themselves to be lukewarm.
§ Mr. Dempsey
Is my hon. Friend aware that, in Coatbridge, there were spontaneously organised demonstrations by mothers taking their children to school in the darkness? Those demonstrations were in protest against British Standard Time. Would he accept that these mothers were not just nationalist minded?
§ Mr. Lawson
Fair enough, but like myself, they are all subjected to the kind of propaganda that goes on. I might be described as nationalistic. I am a as Scottish as anyone. I am not bragging about it but I am as much concerned about my home country as anyone else is. I am well aware of what some people have tried to do to me and to the rest of my fellow Scots. The fact is that, despite the deluge of the nationalistic line we have been subjected to, over the months I have referred to there was apparently a decided shift of opinion following experience.
I was interested to note from a programme earlier this week that even in Stornoway a mother was found whose children were going to school in darkness but who said that she would, if she could, vote for British Standard Time. She accepted it as a system which produced benefits as well as disadvantages. We all recognise that there are disadvantages. We should like long mornings as well as long nights. Unfortunately we cannot get them, and we have to choose.
We have to face the question of how we want to use the limited hours of daylight we have. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) produced some very valid arguments. I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Coat-bridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) that there is one argument he did not produce but which is nevertheless relevant. It concerns the children going to school in the morning. I have seen them going in bands to school and wearing luminous jackets and so on. These children are going to school more cautiously and in many cases accompanied. But look at them when they come dashing out of the school gate at night, getting out as quickly as they can for home or to play around the streets. One might well think of this matter in terms of the attitude towards the need for caution, and caution is more likely to be part and parcel of the attitude in the mornings when it is dark. I throw that point in for what 1373 it is worth as a factor. Even from that point of view, the evidence seems to be that this is a good change. But I am thinking principally in terms of time, of using the daylight hours we have.
I shall vote tonight in support of British Standard Time.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)
I welcome the fact that we are to have a free vote, but, for reasons which I will deploy, I must confess that the exercise of a free vote on this occasion has caused me concern. I am convinced that if there were a referendum now or in six weeks' time, British Standard Time would be thrown out overwhelmingly. I am convinced, from the nature of the speeches we have listened to and the pressures that have been on us as Members of Parliament, particularly during the General Election, that we are being pressed to reject British Summer Time.
I agree with the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) that if British Standard Time is voted down it is by no means the end of the road. We have still to consider what we must do in winter with a limited number of daytime hours. I come from an industrial area, and when British Standard Time was put forward organisations in my area deployed very good arguments for having a constant time in Britain throughout the year. I believe that during the debate in the House I was the only Conservative Member of Parliament to intervene and to say that I had good reason for supporting the Measure. If I was right then, why should I be wrong now in spite of all the pressures that have been put on Members of Parliament?
The reasons were varied. In modern industrial society, particularly in South Yorkshire and Sheffield, more and more people work on shifts. The shifts starts at 6 in the morning, continue until 2 p.m. and then there is another shift, beginning at 2 in the afternoon and finishing at 10 in the evening. If the nation is to use to the best advantage its capital assets, then it is a fair assumption that an increasing proportion of the population will become used to coming home and going to work at awkward hours and in the dark.
I am a little disappointed that we must now come to a decision. I have tried 1374 to canvass opinion among those who put forward ideas for supporting British Standard Time some three years ago. I accept that mothers of small children and housewives are still apprehensive, and I accept that many school teachers join in this apprehension, but the opinion among responsible members of society whom I have also canvassed is that it is a pity that perhaps the emotional wave of feeling means that Parliament must deal with this issue now. Could we not adapt the system and not switch from summertime to wintertime and vice versa?
I was particularly impressed by the remarks of the hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) when he stressed the value of the long afternoon. I believe that the long afternoon will prove to be more valuable than many of us at present realise. Many people I have met value for a variety of reasons the longer afternoon for recreation and sport, particularly if they are on night shift or morning shift and can use the daylight to spend some time in the garden or allotment, or to pursue some type of relaxation, even walking, during these critical winter months.
I should like for the purposes of clarification to examine what sort of system we could return to. Roughly, we could go back to four to five months of winter time and seven or eight months of British Summer Time, presumably as determined by the Home Secretary. If we were to go back, what would be the reaction of the population, and what would they prefer? I have discussed this matter with many industrialists who face this problem in my area, and I believe they would prefer a winter time of, say, not more than ten weeks. In England—and I am not here talking about Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of Wales—the critical period with which we are dealing is 10 weeks where the dark early morning is quite intolerable to many of us who have not yet become used to it. If these 10 weeks are considered to be critical, do we value not having to switch over in spring and then back again in the autumn? There is a feeling that for a variety of reasons a changeover twice a year is inconvenient and that if we can avoid it we should try to do so.
Could we not have a compromise? This is the point at which arguments in 1375 this debate have been far too weak. Somebody suggested to me that during this critical period we could have a Scottish winter time, a Welsh winter time, and a Northern Irish winter time. Others would suggest that this would be difficult and in a debate at this time we must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages. But this approach has not been seriously considered, as far as I know.
I intervene in this debate, as I did in the original debate on this subject, to put the predicament that faces many people. We are told in the social survey that some 59 per cent. of the people consider that this present system has made very little difference to their lives, except in one area where the figure was 56 per cent. I believe that the light afternoons, when we have them, will be much more important during this intolerable period of, say, 10 weeks than many of us at present imagine. Many of us will regret having to return to a situation in which we have to switch from summer time to winter time and then back again in spring and autumn. I am sure that the people of this country would ultimately regret the decision to reject British Standard Time.
We have not the full statistical information about the extent to which B.S.T. has reduced the number of serious road accidents, including deaths. The British Road Laboratory has given an indication that it could increase safety, but at this time have we enough firm evidence of a convincing nature? I personally would like British Standard Time to continue for a further experimental period so that we could be more certain of the alternative that is before us.
I find myself in the predicament of having to go against the letters and telegrams that have been sent to me by constituents who generally dislike B.S.T. and pressure groups, and I include the construction industry and certain trade unions. But tonight at this time I ask for an extension of British Standard Time. I shall be one Member in the Conservative ranks who will be supporting this Order tonight.
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small heath)
I am glad to have the opportunity 1376 to speak for a few moments from the point of view of sport and recreation, but I wish to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the arguments adduced by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn).
This matter certainly involves a balance of considerations and I join in the general welcome to the fact that we are to have a free vote. However, as I look around the Chamber I see very few hon. Members who are likely to be swayed by any argument of any sort. And, sad to say, I am one of them. Perhaps we should have more free votes and then we should become used to regarding this Chamber as a great forum for debate in which opinions would actually change during the ebb and flow of argument.
In regard to the arguments dealing with the effect of British Standard Time on schoolchildren, I feel that, on balance, there is likely to be a greater weight of argument in favour of the course recommended by the Order than if it is defeated. It is easy to whip up opposition, and we remember that emotions were aroused when the experiment began. We can take for what it is worth the evidence of the public opinion polls, but if the experiment is ended, there is likely to be a much more forthright body of opinion demonstrating in favour of a situation that will have gone by default.
When the Labour Government were considering what attitude they should take originally, it fell to me as the Minister responsible for sport to ascertain the views of sporting bodies. The House will not be surprised that the sporting and other organisations involved with recreation and leisure were overwhelmingly in favour of British Standard Time. Their consideration is worth a moment's thought by the House.
We are dealing here with the recreation and leisure possibilities of several million people. I know that the hon. Member for Hallam plays a leading rôle in Sheffield in the organisation of works sports. He knows, as I do, that people who try to organise sporting opportunities in which people can participate, as distinct from being spectators, regard the extra hour as of tremendous value in the life of the country, because they have the job of finding the pitches and making the opportunities for people to take part.
1377 When I became the Minister responsible for sport I found that for years nobody had thought seriously about the effects of the British climate on the sporting scene and opportunities. We still close most of our parks early in the day. We do not have all-weather floodlit pitches. The creation of sporting opportunies during the winter at times when most people, coming out of factories, offices and shops, might wish to use our limited resources, had, in our typically British way, gone unplanned for years. Therefore, I was not surprised to find that, when asked about it, all the governing bodies in sport responsible for the organisation of events in which people could participate were overwhelmingly in favour of the extra hour.
It is worth noting the numbers involved. On any Saturday in this country there are more people playing soccer, our national game, than are to be found watching it. Every Saturday 1 million people play soccer. [Interruption.] This is true. I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) will accept from me that more people play soccer on Saturdays than watch it. This is a good and healthy thing.
§ Mr. Howell
Thank God, there are more people playing than watching soccer. One of our troubles on Saturdays is that too many people watch soccer who should be playing. I am sure that I carry the House with me on that point.
Between half and three-quarters of a million people play rugby union on Saturdays and quite a large number—about 200,000—play rugby league.
The numbers turning to golf are tremendous. Golf is probably the greatest of all the growth sports. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will understand, as I know that you take an interest in these things, that the extra hour for the golfer trying to get in 18 holes of golf, particularly at the weekend, is absolutely invaluable.
Turning to the gardening and allotment move, it is interesting that the number of people engaged in the hobby of gardening—a great deal of research has been carried out by the Sports Council—transcends the number actively en- 1378 gaged in sport. That may be a good thing. Gardening is a timeless, ageless, hobby in which people indulge throughout their lives if they are keen gardeners. Hon. Members know that some of us speak feelingly on this subject.
To reject the Order tonight would seriously inconvenience, at a minimum estimate, 6 million or 7 million people who actively engage in sport and hobbies in the winter.
In addition, there are the great sports industries. I have a great deal of sympathy with them, but their case is not as important as that of the people actively participating in sports.
We need to think about the sports which are having difficulty surviving. Horseracing comes to mind at once as a sport which is in a perilous state at the moment. I hesitate to advance Treasury arguments—[An HON. MEMBER: "Wigg."]—I venture to comment that, had it not been for the brilliant thought which promoted Lord Wigg to his present situation, horseracing would have been in a more parlous state than it is. I am glad that, whatever people may think of my noble Friend's activities, at any rate in his present activities he seems to have a large measure of support from all parts of the House. Lord Wigg is certainly doing a good job. But that is not the point. The point is that unless we can attract people to racecourses the future of horseracing, which is important from the point of view of the export of blood stock, betting interests, Treasury interests, and the man who wants a flutter, we cannot make a market in bookmaking on the course, which dominates the whole of these questions.
§ Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)
The hon. Gentleman is talking about horseracing. Does B.S.T. have a bearing on the number of people who attend horseracing in winter?
§ Mr. Howell
One matter which pleases me is that the support for National Hunt racing far transcends that for flat racing—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] As a matter of fact, it does. If the House is interested in statistics, there were more people at Newbury last Friday watching a National Hunt meeting than appear on any Saturday in the flat racing season. There is a great deal of public interest in jumping 1379 meetings, but that has not too much to do with the situation. However, as I was challenged, I felt that I should produce these statistics out of my head.
§ Mr. David James
Will the hon. Gentleman, as a former Minister for sport, concede that there would not be National Hunt racing unless there was hunting?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. I do not wish to declare an interest. However, I think that that would be out of order.
§ Mr. Howell
I am glad to have your intervention, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in this discourse on blood sports.
It must be transparently obvious that the extra hour in the winter is of great importance to the racing authorities. People have to travel to get to racecourses. If the premise which I have put forward is sound, as I believe it to be, that it is in the interests of racing that we have a good attendance at the race track, it must be self-evident that the extra hour is of great importance.
So it is with other spectator sports—particularly association football and rugby. It is clear that it matches have to start early or, alternatively, have to play on into the dark with floodlighting and so on, the effect upon attendances—[Interruption.]—Most rugby union grounds do not have floodlighting. I am delighted to see the hon. Gentleman. I shall be interested to know how he will be voting tonight.
The sports bodies which organise spectator events in the winter very much welcome the extra hour. From the point of view of recreation and sport generally, it seems that the case for British Standard Time has been more than made out, because of the opportunities which it gives to at least six to seven million people in the exercise of their leisure pursuits. For that reason alone, I shall support the Motion.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Rafton Pounder (Belfast, South)
Like so many hon. Members who have preceded me in this debate, I do not intend to detain the House for more than a few moments. I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) was the first in this 1380 debate to mention Northern Ireland, because we are covered by this Order in the same way as Scotland, Wales and England are.
A few weeks ago I appealed in the columns of the local Press for views on British Standard Time. I was not surprised to receive the heaviest mailbag that I have ever received on any subject during my seven years membership of this House. I realise that there is a danger in drawing too many inferences from a certain number of letters that one receives, but I believe that as there were many more letters than I have received on any other subject, the facts which I seek to deduce from them are not wholly unreasonable. About 4 per cent. advocated a continuance of B.S.T., and these were all from the teaching profession.
A point which it is valid to make in a debate of this kind is that Northern Ireland is the most westerly part of the United Kingdom, particularly when one thinks of County Fermanagh. Before we start we are 25 minutes behind G.M.T. When it becomes one hour and twenty-five minutes, as it does under B.S.T., it strains one's tolerance considerably. It was therefore with total astonishment that I read in paragraph 156 of the White Paper that there was a large measure of indifference on the subject in Northern Ireland but that the arguments weighed fairly evenly for and against B.S.T. I am not disputing that somebody somewhere made such a suggestion for inclusion in the White Paper, but I should like to know who that person was, and what on earth he had been doing for the three years when he should have been seeking information about the general feeling on the subject. The balance of view is certainly not in favour of retaining midmorning darkness.
In the middle of December the sun rises in London at 9.04 a.m. In Belfast it rises at 9.45, and in Fermanagh, at about 10 o'clock. It is intolerable, in an agricultural area, to have this sort of burden to face in the mornings. One of the letters which I received, and which I found vastly amusing, was from a gentleman who wrote:Last Christmas I saw the sun rise at 9.50 a.m. Looking at it I said 'You are not going to make the meridian by noon today'.The argument which has been frequently advanced is that it is desirable, 1381 perhaps with a view to looking towards Western Europe, to standardise the time with Europe. I think that this argument has been demolished in the speeches that we have heard today. The world's largest consumer market, the United States of America, has four time zones, and its next door neighbour, Canada, has five. I think that that demolishes any argument that there may be some merit in the standardisation of time.
What about the position in the construction industry? Very few sites in Northern Ireland are lit and we are, therefore, dependent on daylight. What is more, frost does not clear until daybreak, and, therefore, it is nearly ten o'clock before the building industry is operating at reasonable stretch.
I do not wish to duplicate the arguments which have been advanced in connection with the postmen.
The case on behalf of dairymen has not been made, and again I am drawing on the correspondence that I have received. One man says:Notes are left on the doorstep. I cannot see them in the darkness. I have to read them, so I have to go out to my van which has its headlights on, read the note, see what is required, and then go back to the house to deliver the milk.This is intolerable for such a person. Added to that, my mailbag has contained several complaints about the 50p. piece being confused with the 10p. piece.
I think that the argument about schoolchildren having an hour's daylight when they leave school in the afternoon has been overplayed, because that omits the question of homework, which normally has to be done before anything else. One therefore has the situation that children go to school in the dark, and by the time they have finished their homework and are free to play it is dark again. They are two-way losers.
There is a kind of psychological point which I have never fully been able to understand. It is that on a dark morning one is unwilling to work, that there is a slowing down of one's actions and reflexes, and it seems darker at 7 a.m. than at 7 p.m., even though at both times it is pitch dark. This is part of the illogicality of the argument, but everyone who has been in the House knows and accepts late nights rather more than early hours.
1382 One has to consider, too, shoppers. There is a tendency in Northern Ireland for people to do the bulk of their shopping in the morning, rather than during any other part of the day. With dark mornings they will not set off and do their shopping. The result is that the shopkeeper is hanging around in the afternoon. He does not get his usual custom, but he has to pay the cost of increased electricity, and so on, in the morning. Quite often the shopper tends to adjust to a concentrated Saturday morning's shopping, rather than doing it throughout the week.
Then there is the question of sport. Is it really valid to argue about the sacrifice of those who may be sportingly inclined when for the months that we are discussing, 16 weeks, it is normally too cold or wet to go out at all?
One reason why accidents to children have, thank goodness, declined in the morning is that it is not uncommon for working mothers to miss an hour's work to take their children to school. This fact has not so far been adequately expressed in our deliberations.
I conclude with a quotation on, I think, the most delightful postcard that I received. It contains just six words with which I wholly agree:Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee".
§ 8.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles R. Morris (Manchester, Openshaw)
I have been impressed with the sincerity and conviction that have characterised every speech so far. Equally, I was impressed with the impartiality of the Home Secretary in presenting this White Paper Cmnd. 4512. Having examined the White Paper in detail, I consider it to be a lucid analysis of the experiment that has taken place since the introduction of B.S.T. I think that only the uncharitable would question the impartiality of the authors of the White Paper but, having seen the effects of this experiment of introducing B.S.T. I invite the House to resist its continuance and to vote against the Order.
Perhaps the most illuminating point on this somewhat dark subject is to be found in paragraph 18 of the White Paper where it says:North-west of a line running from Devon to Tees-side, particularly in Scotland, people, especially women, the elderly and outdoor 1383 workers, felt greatly inconvenienced by the change and strongly favoured a return to the old system …I suppose it was not altogether surprising that the less direct the effects of B.S.T. on individuals the more readily they accepted the continuance of the experiment. B.S.T. has produced two new developments in the British way of life. We have seen the advent of darker mornings and of a completely new industry, the manufacture of luminous armbands for school children.
I wish to reflect not only the interests of my constituents, but those of postal workers. I should declare an interest as a former postal and telegraph officer and a member of the Union of Post Office Workers. Postal workers feel most concerned and aggrieved about the continuance of B.S.T. They make a tremendous contribution to community life. Whether they be postmen on their daily walks, telephonists serving in isolated telephone exchanges or postal and telegraph officers serving as clerks in the administrative offices or on public counters, all make an individual contribution to an essential public service. They serve the nation in many different spheres, whether in the Highlands and Islands, the Yorkshire Dales, the Devon moors or the busy urban areas of London and the provincial centres. The consensus of their views, based on their experience, is that British Standard Time must go.
A central feature of their argument is contained in the statistics in paragraph 116 on page 50 of the White Paper. Figure 27 shows the increase in the number of accidents affecting postmen during their normal delivery work. The figures break down into the following categories:Fall on level outdoors, increase—10 per cent.Fall on level ice and snow, increase—325 per cent.Fall on level due to uneven ground, increase—150 per cent.Fall down steps outdoors, increase—75 per centStriking against objects, increase—30 per cent.It is clear from those brief statistics that there has been an appreciable increase in accidents to postmen and postal workers because of the effects of B.S.T.
1384 My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) made an impressive speech in which he said that postmen he had seen in Dundee were about their work at 5.30 or 6 o'clock in the morning. At that time, irrespective of B.S.T., they were doing their work wholly in darkness. It might be of interest to my hon. Friend that the postman spends his first hour or one and a half hours sorting out the mail before he goes on to the streets.
In dealing with this point I will refer to a letter which I have received from the General Secretary of the Union of Post Office Workers in which he says:… with deliveries commencing at 7.15 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. respectively …He is there referring to conditions in the provinces and London—… British Standard Time means delivery postmen are delivering the first mail of the day in darkness and before the first light of dawn.I think that postmen generally will be indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West for making on their behalf on a previous occasion a tremendous speech about their susceptibility to bites from dogs. I say with the greatest kindness that the stance he has taken up tonight is somewhat inconsistent with the stance he took up on that occasion. It is all right protecting the postman from being bitten by dogs, but if the postman can in the darkness fall over the dog from which he is seeking protection his susceptibility to bites might be that much greater.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
As a dog owner I would not dream of putting my dog out in the dark. Does it not follow that people are more likely to keep their dogs in, and does not this act against the argument which my hon. Friend is putting forward?
§ Mr. Morris
It all depends on the individual dog owner.
If we accept the argument in favour of retention of B.S.T. that it will keep us in line with Western European time, we shall go out of line with American time. It is not unusual for a nation to have several different time zones. The United States of America has four time zones, yet I have never heard that commercial interests in the United States complained about the difficulty of contacting 1385 their business colleagues in different parts of the country. The argument about coming into line with European time is not valid.
My hon. Friend the former Minister of Sport, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell), said that if we voted in favour of the abolition of B.S.T. we should be doing a disservice to golfers, gardeners, footballers, punters, racegoers and those who want to enjoy their leisure. I do not mind people enjoying their leisure, they are entitled to follow their hobbies; but I cannot in all honesty accept that people should be allowed to follow their leisure if it means that other people who are serving the community in many different ways are, as a consequence, obliged to suffer.
There is evidence that accidents have increased. There is evidence that, because of British Standard Time, productivity has fallen. One has only to read the White Paper. In the Post Office, it is estimated that productivity of postal workers has fallen a significant 1 per cent. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), who speaks for the building workers, can talk about the impact and loss of productivity which has affected the building industry. We are having increased accidents, loss of productivity and increased costs as a consequence of British Standard Time.
This House must seriously consider which way it should vote tonight. Many people have argued that the White Paper indicates a massive indifference by the British people to the question of British Standard Time unless they are directly affected. This House tonight should have regard to those industries and individuals who are affected and say, "No" to the extension of British Standard Time.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. David James (Dorset, North)
I entirely agree with the point made by the hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. Charles R. Morris) that we should consider the people who work dark and dangerous hours before we consider the sporting aspect.
Having said that, I should like to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to catch your eye after an absence of two Parliaments, particularly as it is 11 years almost to the day when I made my first maiden speech and you were good enough to congratulate me—misguidedly, no 1386 doubt—upon it. I have taken advice on this matter and I understand that in Parliament, as in life, one cannot lose one's maidenhood twice. So I am not seeking any privileges as a result of my comeback.
I do not want to rehearse arguments which have already been covered, but I cannot agree with the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) when he suggests that this is a Scottish plot or something concerning only the countryside, because I listened with interest and pleasure to the maiden speeches, from both sides of the House, by the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray), the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart) and my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money), all of whose speeches I enjoyed, and I can assure hon. Members that the inhabitants of North Dorset take exactly the same view.
I have had a very large number of letters and I have canvassed a very large number of opinions. Unlike some hon. Members who have found one or two dissentient voices, I have found no dissentient voices whatever. Everyone in my rural constituency wishes to revert to the G.M.T. arrangement.
I will not go into details about agricultural workers, building workers and others—that has all been done before—but I should like to make two particular points. My horticulturists tell me that, as a result of British Standard Time, they cannot, in winter, cut their lettuces and get them to market on the day on which they are cut. For about four months, they are deprived of their fresh market because their produce cannot arrive in time.
My second point is one which was made to me by a businessman this afternoon and rather tends to demolish the business argument. The business argument is that we will possibly join Europe and that it is convenient to have the same time system when telephoning one's opposite number in Paris or Bonn. As my friend pointed out to me, however, it is no earthly use arriving at one's office at 9 o'clock in the morning with a view to ringing up one's opposite number in Paris or in Bonn if the girl who operates the switchboard does not arrive until 9.45. There is, I think, a marked tendency on the part of junior 1387 staff not to observe B.S.T. but unilaterally, as it were, to revert to G.M.T. This, therefore, is not working in practice.
I agree with the hon. Member for Openshaw that those of us—and I am one of them—who are dedicated Europeans should utterly reject the European argument, because, in so far as we may or may not be going into Europe, what we have to learn to do is to think continental, in the same way as the Australians and the Americans think continental. One does not have to be in either of those countries for 48 hours before one becomes perfectly accustomed to dealing with time zones.
If I might be frivolous for a moment, I would say that one has to get one's answers right. The first time I went to America, I was taken at 5 p.m. to the then fashionable new Bunny Club in Chicago for a drink. I thought that it would be rather amusing to telephone my wife in Sussex from those surroundings. Unpardonably for a sailor, I applied the G.M.T. correction the wrong way and got my wife out of bed at 1 o'clock in the morning when I imagined that I was telephoning her at 11 o'clock at night. As a result, I was not popular. I mention that cautionary tale because one has only to be in a continent dealing with zonal times for even a matter of hours to realise that there is no argument against time zones.
None of us would wish to leave this debate without paying tribute to the kindly shadow, which to me is very present here, of Sir Alan Herbert and all the work that he has done concerning this matter. I hope that everyone read his letter in The Times yesterday. He pointed out that this country was given the great privilege of Greenwich as the standard meridian but that the obviously convenient arrangement was a 15-degree limit of longitude for the zone; that owing to the fact that we have adopted Central European Time we now have a fantastic 33 degree distorted time zone; that Warsaw and Cork keep the same time even though the sun rises 2¼ hours earlier in Warsaw; and that this arrangement simply does not make sense, and never has done.
I know that I would be out of order if I spoke to the two Amendments, neither 1388 of which has been called. Among others, however, I detect from both sides of the House—I gather this from conversations outside as well as inside the Chamber—some sensitive points of view put forward by, for example, the former Minister for Sport, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell), and others, that consideration should be given to the recreational impact of the Order, although it must take second place to the working impact. I believe that the way in which we can do this best is by cutting down the period to an absolute minimum.
As I said in an intervention—in case I was not fortunate enough to be called—all that one has to do is to consult the Nautical Almanac. If one is firmly based in London, one looks at the 52 degrees south column. Those who, like me, happen to be half-Sassenach, look at the 56 degrees south column, which takes in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and one reaches a bracket where one makes good the hour. It is not, as one or two hon. Members have said, 10 weeks. It is not, as it used to be in the old days, 20 weeks. It is a mere matter of 13 weeks. As has been pointed out, the 13 weeks involved are those which are least useful to gardeners, golfers and others because, generally speaking, through late November, December, January and the first fortnight in February the weather tends to be lousy.
I hope that the Home Office will look at this suggestion, which has come from hon. Members on both sides, with a considerable degree of seriousness because I am almost certain that, as a result of the vote tonight, new arrangements will have to be laid before the House. I hope that attention will be paid to the proposition of reverting to G.M.T., but for a very much shorter period.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ Mr. John Mackie (Enfield, East)
I wish, first, to congratulate the four maiden speakers, who have made excellent contributions to our debate. Without naming them all, I must refer to the hon. Member the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray), whose predecessor, Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie, was highly thought of in the House.
I was intrigued by the humour of the Nationalist from the Western Isles (Mr. Donald Stewart), who is likely to need 1389 in his somewhat lonely position, being the only member of his party represented here.
A great deal of the discussion has taken place as if the vote had already occurred. Everybody seems to think that it is a foregone conclusion that B.S.T. will go. I suggest that at this stage we should wait and see what happens. An amazing number of people seem to think that because we have B.S.T. they are losing an hour. That is not the case. It is merely a question of the country organising its time in the way it sees fit; and we have arranged things so that we have an extra hour at night during a short period in the winter when we have so little daylight.
A lot has been said about the difference between living in the extreme North compared with living in the South. However, the ratio of difference, if it can be put that way, between living in the North of Scotland and the South of England is precisely one hour. That is the ratio whether one lives in the far North of Scotland, the North-East of England, in the South or in any other part of the country. There is only one hour's difference.
Bearing this in mind, it is extraordinary how the Scottish argument has come into the picture. If anything, it is an argument not against B.S.T. but against living in Scotland in the winter time. [Interruption.] Hon. Members know my interest. I have spent a lot of my life in Scotland—in the North-East of Scotland at that—and a lot of it in England. I can therefore, speak with knowledge of this issue. Indeed, the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith), who is my M.P., will accept that it is also an argument for living in Scotland in the summer time, when that part of the country has a lot of daylight.
The advantages of B.S.T. were explained by the Home Secretary and I will not repeat them. I urge hon. Members not to put aside the question of timetables and communications, particularly as today we have increasing communications with the Continent in every respect, by which I mean by every means of transport, for business and holidays, by road, air and sea. All these advantages should not be swept aside as if they were of no significance. Whatever arguments are adduced about the time in the morning 1390 when typists or others begin work in this country, it is easily seen from the map in the Command Paper that the same time zone applies over a very wide area.
It should not be forgotten that many alterations must be made twice a year when the clock is shifted under the old system. Indeed, far more work is involved than many people appreciate. I was interested to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) refer to farmers making a change eight times during the year, on four occasions when the clock was changed twice. That may be overdoing it, but it demonstrates some of the problems that arise.
I have spoken to many elderly people and they have assured me that they appreciate the extra hour in the evening, particularly in the winter. They do not want to get up early. Young people undoubtedly like it, and we have heard how it suits sportsmen. This latter point cannot be easily cast aside. While we must think about farmers and building workers, we must also consider sportsmen because millions of people are affected by this extra hour.
I have been slightly annoyed by the arguments adduced by some of my neighbours in Scotland, who have genuinely declared that the extra hour is designed merely to allow Southern sportsmen to have an extra hour of leisure. We had the same argument many years ago when we had Double Summer Time. This extra hour enables many people, including my constituents, to, for example, dig the allotment or collect the cabbages. In any event, in Scotland I know many of my neighbours who make this claim, who are self-employed, who are able to take the day off to do a spot of fishing or shooting. [Interruption.] I assure hon. Members that this is so. I know many members of the farming population and how they organise their time.
There seem to be three main groups of objectors; farmers and farm workers, building contractors and postmen. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) thought that the critical period lasted about 10 weeks. I doubt whether it is as long as that. The weeks from about now to the middle of January make up the critical period, with the longest night—21st-22nd December—corning roughly in the middle.
§ Mr. David James
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He will appreciate that as the world is going round the sun as well as itself revolving the mornings do not start drawing out until 2nd January, while the evenings, thanks be to God, will start drawing out on Thursday of next week. The middle point, therefore, is 2nd January and not the shortest day.
§ Mr. Mackie
I appreciate that point, which is very ably shown in the sketch in the Command Paper. Nevertheless, the critical period is still only six or seven weeks and not as much as 10 weeks. It stretches out at one end or the other.
It should also be remembered that in the middle of this period the school children have a couple of weeks' holiday. A little alteration in school times might almost solve their difficulties over the other weeks.
We all insist on getting our mail as early as possible, but as we are presumably soon to be under new management at the Post Office perhaps something can be done to help the postmen. I have seen them going about with torches rather awkwardly fixed across their chests and trying to do their work in the dark by that means, but a miner's torch worn in the hat might be more suitable. They would then only have to bend down to see what they were doing. I seem to be giving Lord Hall's successor some helpful tips. I am sure that the postmen could be helped a lot, but I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West is right in saying that in the winter postmen in any case do the bulk of their work in the dark.
I think that I can claim to speak fairly knowledgeably about farmers. Most of their work in the period I have given is with stock, and at that time most stock is indoors. I think that it was the hon. Member for Banff (Mr. W. H. K. Baker) who made a point of the great difficulty experienced by farmers in loading stock on dark winter mornings. He spoke as though farmers were loading stock every day during that six or seven week period, but I am sure that the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro) knows that that is not the case. A farmer probably loads stock once a month, and if he cannot pen the animals the night 1392 before or make other suitable arrangements he is making a bad job.
When I was at the Ministry I had a letter from a farmer in Lincoln complaining about B.S.T., and it was obvious that he had not tried in any way to adapt himself to it. When I wrote and told him so, he very courteously replied that I was quite right.
Cows—and other stock—hate the change that comes with the G.M.T. system and there is a drop in the milk yield. They just do not like any change in milking. It is wonderful what can be done with a routine. For instance the milking routine can start at 10 o'clock in the morning and finish at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. That leaves the cowmen with time off from 2 o'clock until 10 o'clock in the evening, when milking starts again and finishes about 2 o'clock in the morning. The men then go to bed. Many people think that that is ridiculous, but the point is that the cowmen have those hours between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week for their shopping and social life. It is wonderful what can be done by a little reorganisation.
Men working outside with tractors may find some difficulty, but most tractors are fitted with lights nowadays and it is quite easy to deal with that problem.
There is a lot of inside work to be done in the winter—dressing potatoes, and so on—and I am quite certain that over this short period, or even a period of 10 weeks, farmers can quite easily organise themselves so as not to lose any time at all. A little organisation and planning would not cause too much trouble and would obviate any possible loss. We should note what the Ministry of Agriculture says in the Command Paper on this subject.
I started farming in 1926 when we worked a 9¾-hour day on six days a week. In many places that is now down to an 8¼-hour day on five days a week. Because of this the amount of overtime for which the farmer has to pay has been considerably reduced. It will not be long before we are down to an 8-hour day for five days a week. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West said, if we talk to the farmers and other people, they come round to a different way of thinking.
I am no authority on the building industry, but I have had a word about 1393 it with the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain). I appreciate that British Standard Time causes difficulty in the building trade. The situation could be helped by making a small alteration in times and some planning. I appreciate that loss has resulted in the building industry, but grave doubt is cast on the figure of £30 million in the White Paper.
I think that we must take the Command Paper as a guide. The hon. Lady the Member for Preston, North (Miss Holt) doubted its authenticity because of the 101 per cent. which one column added up to. I know, having been in it, that the Ministry rounds off percentages to the nearest whole point. Therefore, I hope that she will not be too hard on the ladies and gentlemen in the box on her left. Sixty per cent. of the people affected by British Standard Time are prepared to accept it. Only five per cent. of industry and commerce is dead against it. This is a point of which we must take cognisance.
Other than the circulars from the National Farmers' Union, the building workers' organisation and the Post Office workers' union, I have had only two letters of protest. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) asked a statistician to work out the figures. If we do that, we come to the wrong decision, because the majority of people who are in agreement never write to us and say so. It is only the protestors who write. We must take the Command Paper as our guide and not the dozen letters or so which we receive.
We have had British Standard Time for only two years. My hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) referred to the fantastic rows which there have been about it. Between the wars there were rows about ordinary Summer Time and then about Double Summer Time during the war. Nobody wants to do away with British Summer Time now. After a suitable lapse of time, when people realise that they have to adjust themselves to and plan for these things and that there are advantages in them, we receive no more letters about them.
We have heard a great deal about the North and North-West of Scotland. On the other hand, my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), whose constituency 1394 undoubtedly is the furthest north in Scotland, apart, of course, from that of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), held a poll among his constituents and, according to a report in the Aberdeen People's Journal, they came out in favour of British Standard Time. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) also canvassed a number of his constituents. They, too, are in favour of British Standard Time. If hon. Members have any doubts, I suggest that they read the leader in The Guardian today which says that there are more of us like owls than larks, and we prefer an extra hour of daylight at the end rather than at the beginning of the day.
I appeal to hon. Members to give this matter very deep thought. I hope that they will not scrap British Standard Time out of hand.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Daniel Awdry (Chippenham)
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) made a powerful speech on behalf of sportsmen who, naturally enough, prefer light evenings. I sympathise with them, but I feel that their interests must be balanced against those of working people. The hon. Gentleman talked about football and the weekends but, with respect to him, this debate is not about weekends. It is concerned with the working week.
The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) referred several times to Scotland and suggested that practically all the opposition to British Standard Time came from Scotland. However, I speak as a Wiltshireman, and I can assure the House that there is very strong feeling among my constituents against British Standard Time.
I agree that opinion is divided. I have received about a hundred letters, in contrast to the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Mackie) who said that he had received two or three. It may be argued that a hundred letters is not a great number to receive in terms of the size of my constituency. The fact remains that the vast majority opinion is against B.S.T., and I intend to vote against it.
We last debated the matter two years ago, when less than a third of the House voted for the Bill. I did not feel very 1395 strongly about it at the time, and I do not think that my constituents did. Certainly I did not receive a hundred letters on the subject on that occasion.
Two years ago, we were assured that industrialists and exporters wanted the change. The Under-Secretary of State said that the National Union of Agricultural Workers approved of the change, and we were assured that there was growing support in the country as a whole. As I do not have to leave my house very early in the mornings and the idea of light evenings appealed to me, I abstained at the time. However, the position is very different today. There is now strong feeling in my constituency against B.S.T. and, whatever my personal inclination, I must represent that majority feeling in my vote. I still like light evenings but, if the majority of my constituents want to abolish B.S.T., I must vote in that way.
Most of the points for and against have been fully covered already, but perhaps I might give four brief reasons for the strong feeling among my constituents. The first concerns agricultural workers. Whatever they felt in 1968 and whatever their union said, they disapprove of B.S.T. today. All hon. Members have been sent a document from the N.U.A.W. It held a survey among its members, and the view taken is that B.S.T. has created extra overtime, a reduction in their leisure time and disruption to their leisure and social life. In addition, it is felt that children are exposed to greater risks. It is clear that the union is overwhelmingly against B.S.T., and I have a great many of its members in my constituency.
I then come to the farmers. I cannot pretend to have received a great many letters from them. Farmers do not make a habit of writing letters to me. However, I have attended meetings of farmers, and it is clear that the majority, though not all of them, want us to abolish B.S.T. The National Farmers Union has written to hon. Members saying that there is a substantial majority of farmers against B.S.T. Their view is that it creates traffic hazards, causes loss of production in mid-winter and gives rise to extra costs as a result of farmers having to use electricity on tractors and in yards and buildings. The hon. Member for Enfield, East said that farm workers can have 1396 lights on their tractors. They can, and they do, but this costs money.
We have had a great deal of discussion about builders, and there is little more that one can say on this topic. No doubt, the dark mornings increase the costs to the builders. They traditionally start work at eight o'clock in the morning, and in my constituency very often at 7.30 Either they start work in the dark or they delay their start by an hour. If they work in the dark the have to use artificial lighting, and it is difficult for a small builder to arrange to have artificial lighting on the site. If they start an hour later, the lorries bringing the plant come during the peak periods of traffic and this causes dislocation and additional expense. I believe the builders have an overwhelming case.
What about the general public? I would say that 80 per cent. of the letters that I have received are very strongly against continuing British Standard Time. At meetings with my constituents, this has come through very clearly to me. I do not know what time hon. Members think the average person leaves home in the winter to go to work. In my constituency I would say that he leaves not later than 7.45 or perhaps 7.30 a.m. He leaves his house in the dark. He travels to work in the dark and he arrives at work in the dark, and this is exceedingly depressing, particularly in a foul and beastly winter. The same worker gets back at 5.30 or 6 p.m. It is already dark again, even under the present system, so he does not get much benefit from the extra hour of light in the evening. True, it may be slightly more pleasant during the weekend, but as I have said before I do not think this is a debate about weekends. It is a debate about the working week.
I should like to conclude by reading a letter which I received today from a constituent. It is revealing. My constituent writes:As a parent and a head teacher of a country school I am sure that it is not in the interests of the children. Under the old system of reverting back to G.M.T. for the winter period all the children were able to go to school in daylight. Darkness in the evening was only for one or two days prior to the end of the autumn term and this did not apply to the youngest children who leave school either at 3.15 p.m. or 3.30 p.m. At present children of all ages have to be in school at the same time and so go to school in the dark.1397I do not think either that road safety figures prove anything as we have not had very severe conditions for the last two winters.Apart from children, most country people, who do not have the benefit of brightly lit streets, are penalised by this experiment.I am sure that however your personal views may be, you will be expressing the views of the majority of your constituents if you vote against this Measure.I can assure my constituent that I shall.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Gwynoro Jones (Carmarthen)
As one who made my maiden speech at 4.30 in the morning. I can claim a little experience of the dangers of a dark morning.
As a Member for a West Wales constituency, may I express a difference of opinion with my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) who made this a Scottish issue? There is a great deal of concern in Wales, and especially rural West Wales, about British Standard Time. I have one concern about the presentation of the White Paper. The White Paper should have been presented in a form which did not include England and Wales together. Wales should have been presented separately, as was the case with Scotland. If one considers the zones shown in the first few pages, one can see that it would have been quite possible to do this and the figure for Wales could have been presented separately as they were for Scotland. In that case, my right hon. Friend would not have been quite so sure of himself in saying that this was a Scottish issue.
As a Member for a rural constituency, I shall have no hesitation in voting against the retention of British Standard Time. Obviously, the rural areas are affected, and affected much more than many other parts of the country.
I shall not go over the reasons put by hon. Members for voting against the Order. As a statistician before coming to the House, I must warn those who are basing their intention to vote to retain British Standard Time on the accident figures that those figures can be most misleading. We are told that the number of accidents has decreased. What do we see in the record of accidents to children?—probably a net decrease when we put the morning and the evening from 4 to 6 o'clock together. Yet if one were to take the period from 4 until 7 in the evening, an hour longer, the figures would 1398 be very different. There would be a net increase in accidents and deaths among children between 5 and 14.
There are unquantifiable factors in the emphasis which is put on British Standard Time as improving safety for children. We know the circumstances in which children go to school in the morning. Undoubtedly, the public disquiet and concern has meant that mothers have been taking their children to school, or that drivers have been more careful because of the possible public reaction. We cannot measure how long this state of affairs will prevail, how long a mother will continue to take her children to school or how long a driver will continue to take special care. After British Standard Time has been accepted and the public concern for the safety of children had receded a little, the driver may relax his concentration in the early morning.
The situation in rural areas is of significant importance with regard to children. Many of the roads in Carmarthenshire have no pavement such as there is in urban or suburban areas. Children have to go to school in Carmarthenshire in the dark. If my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East and I travelled up by train together, he would notice the difference in daylight in the morning between Carmarthen and South-East England. It is probably nearly an hour.
Hon. and right hon. Members have said that the majority of people are basically not really interested or they are apathetic. The White Paper tells us that about 68 per cent. of people cannot give a reason one way or another why they are against or in favour of British Standard Time. Generally speaking, they are apathetic. We are concerned about the people who matter, and the people who matter are those who have to get up in the morning, builders, agricultural workers, farmers, and so on. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is becoming almost like a revivalist meeting in South Wales. I am tempted to suggest that we should have television here to make a great impression.
My hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Mackie) has spoken of the farming fraternity. Not only has the National Farmers' Union sent me a letter but both the Carmarthenshire branch of the Farmers' Union of Wales and the agricultural workers of South Wales have expressed concern, deep concern in the 1399 case of the agricultural workers. It is just not true that the agricultural fraternity are satisfied with British Standard Time.
My hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson), among others, has referred to the fact that in February and March, 1970, people were more ready to accept British Standard Time than they were in December, 1969. I am not sure what use one can make of that. Obviously, in February and March the impact of British Standard Time is not so great as it is in December. Whenever a survey is made, people tend to react to the situation of the day, and the situation in December is vastly different from that in March.
I could go on to highlight the importance of the lighter morning for the worker. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) will say something about the construction industry if he catches the eye of the Chair.
My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell), the former Minister for Sport, referred to sport in general. Perhaps I may refer to one in which I claim to be a slight expert, which is rugby, as is natural for someone from South Wales. Did he realise, when he spoke of his concern that the rugby player cannot play his game in the dark hours, that the sport with the greatest appeal to the people of South Wales these days is floodlit rugby? On any midweek night when Llanelli plays Aberavon, Cardiff or Newport there will be a full house for a floodlit rugby football match. I am sure that the same applies to association football.
As the son of a colliery carpenter, and knowing the colliery workers, steel workers and builders, I know that if they have done their share of work in the day they do not fancy running out in their rugby shorts at 3 o'clock in the afternoon in midweek. If a miner has been underground for seven hours he has quite some stamina if he goes out at 3 o'clock and runs for 90 minutes.
§ Mr. Mackie
My hon. Friend must not put too much emphasis on South Wales. He must remember that shop workers and many other people have Wednesday or Thursday afternoon off, 1400 and there are no floodlights in amateur grounds. My hon. Friend must think of them as well.
§ 9.3 p.m.
Earl of Dalkeith (Edinburgh, North)
It is very agreeable to be able to agree with such an agreeable speech from an hon. Member opposite. I endorse everything the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynoro Jones) said.
Throughout the debate I have listened with great care to every argument in favour of keeping British Standard Time. One, and one only, I suggest, merits serious consideration, and that is the argument about road casualities put forward by the former Home Secretary, the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). We should consider that point, and I hope that I shall be able to deal with it a little later.
I was not at all impressed by the other arguments in favour of its retention, particularly those from my compatriots on the other side of the House, including the exiled compatriot. Probably the best thing that I can say about the hon. Members for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) and Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) is that I salute them for having the courage to take a line which I am certain will be extremely unpopular in their constituencies. I only hope that the hon. Member for Dundee, West will not be bitten by a postman when he goes back home at the weekend.
The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Mackie), our exiled Scot, spoke with a rather different voice from that of many of the farmers in Scotland. He seemed to be particularly concerned about the problems which will arise with regard to his winter holidays on the Continent or elsewhere abroad through the complications arising from the timetables.
We have heard excellent maiden speeches in the debate. If it is not invidious for me to do so, I should like in particular to congratulate my hon. 1401 Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray) on a most exceptionally good speech. I am certain that, for the way in which he has championed this cause, all his constituents will have undying love and support for him and that we shall see him remaining in that seat for many years.
Praise should be given to those who have taken a great deal of trouble to compile this review. A great deal of work has gone into it, and it should be recognised. I make one exception, and that is the omission about the medical and health aspects, which have been barely touched upon.
The Road Research Laboratory statistics merit serious thought. But I suspect the figures because it seems to me that no credit has been given to various other contributory factors which have helped to reduce the casualty rate during these years. For example, no credit has been given to the massive road safety campaigns which have been conducted, nor to the increase in the number of seat-belts fitted to cars, nor to "breathtaking Barbara". Although one does not find a great many people drinking before they go to work early in the morning, and therefore, this may not be a very significant point, I feel that, as a result of the good work which the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) undertook in bringing in the breathalyser, a great many people no longer drive to work with a blinding hangover, which can easily be the cause of an accident in the mornings. If one takes these other factors into account, I do not think that the statistics are necessarily as valid as those who promote them would have us believe.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
On the question of the Road Research Laboratory's figures—-and one obviously takes them seriously—does my hon. Friend recall that when this experiment was originally introduced the laboratory confidently announced that if British Standard Time had been in operation in 1964, there would have been 290 fewer casualties on the roads—neither more nor less? Does it not follow from this that the laboratory had a certain vested interest in the experiment?
Earl of Dalkeith
That may well be my hon. Friend's interpretation of the 1402 situation and I have no evidence for disagreeing with him.
The link with Europe has been mentioned as one of the reasons for keeping British Standard Time, but that argument has been demolished absolutely by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison). He did so by pointing out that Italy juggles with its clock, and if Italy can do that there is no possible reason why we should not do so. It has been said that a number of business men are in favour of British Standard Time because it makes their contact with the Continent by telephone easier. Only about 45 minutes ago I was handed an up-to-date opinion poll taken in the Edinburgh City Business Club, which is comprised of business men. It shows that 75 per cent. were against British Standard Time and only 15 per cent. in favour. This is the view of business men, and one could not have a more up-to-date poll. It came to me only 45 minutes ago.
The difficulty about public opinion polls is that, although they may produce a significant answer, they give no indication of the strength with which somebody holds a view. It is my experience that everybody I have met who has been in favour of keeping B.S.T. has been mostly in favour in a rather lukewarm way, whereas practically all those who have been against B.S.T. feel passionately about it. It is a case of comparing real hardship with perhaps fairly minor inconvenience.
The view put forward by the ex-Minister for Sport, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell), that sportsmen would regard it as convenient to continue with B.S.T. should be seriously taken into account, but he neglected to mention that presumably sportsmen are included in public opinion polls. They are not singled out and excluded, and, so far as we can see, all the most recent polls show that a decided body of people throughout the country are on the whole against the continuation of B.S.T. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary referred to the leader in the Daily Telegraph that hit the nail firmly on the head, and he made a valid point in that respect.
The other point I wish to mention is that relating to the health aspect. Only 1403 eight lines are devoted in this excellent review to the health side of the matter. I personally believe that the psychological effect of longer darker mornings should be taken seriously. It undoubtedly leads to a greater feeling of depression when people know that there is one more hour of darkness in the morning than there needs to be. I am not saying that it necessarily drives people to suicide, and if I were to make that suggestion the statistics would prove me wrong, because in the last two years the number of suicides has declined rather than increased. However, the statistics do not indicate how many people there are who at times feel pretty depressed and suicidal. They are reduced to a general state of b—mindedness. This may account for our having had so many industrial disputes in the last year or two. At any rate B.S.T. may have been a contributory factor. Any hon. Member who is a strong supporter of B.S.T. will merely say that the Labour Government caused all these disputes, but I believe that it has an effect on people since it is unnatural to have to get up one hour earlier during darkness.
I should like to quote an extract from a letter written by a woman doctor to the Secretary of State for Scotland. I believe that she also sent a letter to the Lancet and to the Scottish Sunday Express. She said in the letter:It is well known that we have a biological rhythm and that heart-rate, blood pressure, temperature, liver function, all show increased daytime levels and a corresponding nocturnal reduction and that these changes are largely governed by light and darkness. Pathological depression, mental illness and suicidal tendencies are characterised by early-morning wakening. An extra hour of darkness in the morning only makes the agony worse.It may not be within the knowledge of all hon. Members that light has definite effects on the animal, whether human or otherwise. Let me quote what happens to sheep. It may not be generally known that the ewe reaches the stage when she desires the tup due to the effect of the number of hours of daylight and the changing length of the day, which cause this process to take place. This is a photoelectrical process which results in the ewe coming to the right state of affairs for the tup. It may be that human beings are similarly attracted—
§ Lord Dalkeith
I went through all the statistics that I could find last night. One thing which struck me was that the birth rate has been falling in the last two years.
I must pass from that to an agricultural subject which I thought was beautifully dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Miss Holt) in her maiden speech. I should like someone to answer one question. I do not know who is to answer the debate. Perhaps I might ask the Home Secretary to bear this point in mind. If we are to continue with the same kind of agricultural support system that we have enjoyed for some time, I wonder whether the additional cost which falls upon Scottish farmers as a result of B.S.T. will be taken into account in future farm price reviews. This point, so far as I know, has never been answered specifically.
My last point concerns building. I shall be brief, because I know that many hon. Members wish to speak. In Scotland alone the cost of B.S.T. is about £8 million. This is at a time when we are desperately short of housing and there are 18,000 building workers out of work in Scotland. Can anything be crazier than to saddle this vital industry with such an unnecessary burden? I therefore hope that right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House will join in throwing out B.S.T. for good.
§ 9.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
I want to make one or two comments, because I spoke against the Order when it was originally brought forward. I confess that I did not vote against it, because we got an assurance at the time that it would be an experiment for three years. Some hon. Members argued that it should be for only one year.
I felt passionately about this matter at the time, and nothing has happened since to change my mind. In fact, I am more convinced that we should get rid of this measure at the earliest possible moment. I remember saying when the Order was introduced that I could not understand why it should be brought forward. The thought that occurred to me then was that one day the Minister went into his office and the civil servant who gave the Minister the benefit of his advice 1405 said, "Mr. Minister, here is a little proposal which has been tucked away in this pigeon-hole for a number of years. I have brought it out on odd occasions and the Minister at the time has put it back again. As you have nothing to do next week, perhaps you would like to introduce it." I could not think of any other reason for the Order being introduced.
We were told that it was important for the business men because they had to be able to phone their counterparts in Europe at the same time. I then discovered that there was a difference of one hour between Italy and the rest of Europe—and Italy is in the Common Market. So what about the business men in Italy and France? They apparently did not lose any sleep because there was one hour difference between those countries. We then discussed this whole matter in relation to the United States where there is five-hour difference. It was an absurd and ridiculous argument. The main reason I opposed it at the time, and why I have continued to oppose it, is that it has such an effect on the lives of the people who work outside, in the construction industry, as postmen, as agricultural workers, and as other outside workers. They are badly affected by B.S.T.
On the previous occasions I tried to explain to the Ministers concerned—and they happened to be our Ministers—that when a building worker starts work about one hour later in most cases—it has been three-quarters of an hour later sometimes—it means that he gets home that much later at night, and he loses that time at home with his family. Some people do not seem to understand that building workers may have long distances to travel. Many of them are employed at large sites, building power stations, which may be half an hour's journey away from a big city.
No one seemed to think that that was a serious argument, and I can understand that 68 per cent. of the people do not mind one way or the other which system we have. One reason is that a worker in an engineering factory, for instance, goes to work and switches on the light. B.S.T. makes no difference to him, but it makes a big difference to the building worker.
We have heard the accident statistics. Unfortunately, I do not have them with 1406 me, but I believe that there has been a marginal increase in the number of accidents in the building industry over the last two or three years. I argue that this is due to people working in the dark, often with artificial light. Working in the building industry is dangerous anyway, but with artificial light the incidence of accidents is increased, because with artificial light one can get a black spot. A worker thinks that a board is in place. He walks over what he thinks is a board, but discovers, too late, that it is hole, and down he goes to the bottom of the scaffolding, and he is either killed or seriously injured.
That is why I am against this Act, and why I have always been against it. Building workers are opposed to this experiment, and I hope that the House will have sufficient sense tonight to throw out this Measure and let us get back to some reality.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Jopling (Westmorland)
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) because, for the first time in my life, I agree with every word that he has spoken.
I am anxious to get rid of B.S.T. for ever. I agree with what the former Home Secretary said, that the main problem is that we do not have enough hours of daylight in the winter to begin with. This is our basic problem, and what we have to do is to try to put the few hours of daylight that we do have to the best use.
I strongly disagree with the right hon. Gentleman when he tries to make out that this is solely a Scottish problem. It is nothing of the sort. It is a problem which worries people in the north of England, and particularly those in my constituency. For a long time I have felt strongly about this matter. I was one of a number of hon. Members who supported a Private Member's Bill brought in during the last Session of Parliament by my right hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber), who has been here for a good deal of today, and I was sorry that that Bill did not get a better hearing in the House.
I do not apologise for referring a good deal to my constituency to show why I and most of my constituents are so passionately against B.S.T. I think that my 1407 constituency is a good geographical example of the effect of B.S.T. on the British Isles. If one draws a line from the southern part of Cornwall to the northern part of the mainland of Scotland, my constituency falls exactly in the middle. The maps on pages 8 and 9 of the White Paper show the way in which the dawn moves across the country from the south-east and the sunset moves across the country from the north-east. My constituency falls almost precisely in the middle as the light arrives and as it fails.
My constituents are almost unanimously against B.S.T. Within the last six weeks I have attended and have answered questions at three fairly large social gatherings in my constituency. I asked my constituents for their opinion about B.S.T. and on each occasion there was an almost unanimous vote for its abolition. On two occasions, less than five wanted to keep it and on the other occasion less than 10 wanted to keep it. It is not surprising that people living in Westmorland, where with B.S.T. the sun rises after 9 o'clock between 26th November and 1st February—which is 67 days—want to get rid of B.S.T.
Some hon. Members have said that they have received relatively few letters on this subject, but I have had a great many letters which are almost unanimously against B.S.T. I will quote examples of the hardship which B.S.T. brings to my constituents. I have received a letter from a small builder in the Langdale Valley who employs 12 people, in which he says:As an individual builder I find that during last winter B.S.T. cost me about £200 in lost time, and when I say lost time I do not mean time lost other than the inability of the men to see what they were doing.That small builder is being put to great trouble and expense at a time when in rural areas small builders are going out of business and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find builders to do maintenance work.
I have also received a letter signed by seven farmers in the Langdale Valley. This is very different farming from that referred to by the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Mackie), who said that in the dark mornings people on farms could do jobs indoors. My constituent says: 1408I would like to draw to your attention the trouble and financial loss which the present state is causing myself and other farmers in the country. My wife and I are having to arise at 6.30 a.m. in order to breakfast and get the children off to school; I myself have breakfasted and milked usually by 8 o'clock and then perforce have to sit on my backside and await sufficient daylight to do outside work. This wastage of time is about one hour daily and spread over the affected period means a loss of individual production of some 80 to 90 hours, and in terms of hard cash somewhere between £50 and £100 per winter. Life on a hill farm is difficult enough without us having to endure something which I feel is needless and not really helpful to the general well being and economy of the country and certainly not to us people who live in remote areas of the countryside.These are two typical examples of the feelings of people who live in a constituency which lies geographically in the middle of the dawn and the sunset. In my part of the country B.S.T. is detested, and I intend to vote against it tonight.
I should like to mention the figures from the Road Research Laboratory to which the right hon. Member for Cardiff. South-East (Mr. Callaghan) referred. I took note of what the right hon. Gentleman said, but I prefer to rely on what was said by my right hon. Friend. I hope that I paraphrase him correctly in saying that he found it difficult to judge the accident figures one way or the other in view of other factors such as the breathalyser and other matters which have been introduced. I feel that those figures are not significant enough.
I hope that this issue will not become clouded in the minds of hon. Members by considerations affecting the possibility of our joining the European Economic Community. The fact that British Standard Time fits in with the time in a large part of the Community is no ground for retaining British Standard Time here. My position on the approach to Europe is that I have always hoped that this country would be able to join the Community and I have always hoped that, when we knew what the price was, we should feel able to pay it. I plead, however, with any hon. Members who are enthusiasts for Europe not to vote for B.S.T. in what I regard as the misguided belief that to do otherwise would be to commit an un-European act. B.S.T. is unsuitable for us. Let us get rid of it because we think that it is a bad system for Britain I do not think that voting against B.S.T. could 1409 matter less for our application to join Europe.
In paragraph 162, on page 55 of the Command Paper, it is suggested that 50 per cent. of the people were in favour of B.S.T. in mid-winter and that the figure rose to 51 per cent. in the spring. Those figures were obtained in the survey which was conducted last spring. My belief from my contact with people throughout the country is that there has been a massive swing against B.S.T. during the last few months. My hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Money), who made such an excellent maiden speech, referred to the latest public opinion poll which has been published during the last few days. I believe that people have moved, and are moving, rapidly against B.S.T. I hope that in the Lobbies tonight, the House will reflect that massive swing against the system and that we abolish B.S.T. for all time.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
A ninth-century litany begins:From the fury of the NorthmenMay the Lord God deliver us.Tonight we can add to the Northmen Post Office engineers working outside, postmen, builders, agricultural workers, milkmen and newsboys. They will have good cause to be furious with this House if it votes tonight for the retention of British Standard Time.
Members of this House are used to working in the dark. We are used to arriving late and working late. What we are not accustomed to is working very early in the morning in the dark on icy roads and icy paths.
People employed in distribution are affected not just by the darkness but by the coldness as well. When people, in the comfort of their homes, go to the front door and see the milkman, newsboy or postman coping with the cold, they may begin to realise that these people, who cannot wear gloves because of the work they do, suffer hardships of cold as well as of darkness in their working lives.
The public are often selfish. They want their extra hour of daylight at the end of the day but insist on having their post delivered before they leave home, their milk on the doorstep before break- 1410 fast and their newspapers to read on the train. They should think of the working conditions of the men and women who provide these amenities.
I was shocked to hear the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) in which he spoke of what he called the advantages of B.S.T. to the National Hunt racegoer and the golfer. I do not know how many hon. Members are able to view the clientele of National Hunt race meetings and golfers on winter afternoons. They are certainly not the people whom I shall support in the Lobby tonight if that support means that the postman, newsboy and milkman must suffer as a consequence.
§ Mr. Lawson
Is my hon. Friend aware that my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) pointed out, among other things, that more young people were playing football on Saturday afternoons than were watching the game? He estimated that probably a million youngsters were playing. Does not that come into the matter?
§ Mr. Golding
It is, of course, open to people to play whatever game they wish on Saturday afternoons, and many of these youngsters are able to play games at school. I am speaking about those who must go to work and who, after a hard day's graft in manual and other trades, do not feel fit to play football at the close of a winter's evening.
§ Mr. Bob Brown (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West)
Is my hon. Friend aware that, certainly in the part of the county I represent, workers are on their way to work long before daylight, whether we have G.M.T. or B.S.T.?
§ Mr. Golding
There is a great difference between people travelling to work, even upstairs in a smoke-ridden bus, and those walking the streets delivering milk, the post and newspapers. I urge hon. Members who are trying to adduce genuine arguments in this matter not to scrape the barrel. There must be cogent arguments in favour of retaining B.S.T. My only point at the moment is that an argument on behalf of sport is not a cogent one in favour of retaining it.
§ Mr. Tom King
I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman's main thesis, but he 1411 seemed to draw a distinction between the interests of people who might attend afternon race meetings and those of people who might have to work in the early mornings, but might it not be true that with the increasing amount of shift work a great deal of the attendance at race meetings comprises those who have been on the early morning shift?
§ Mr. Golding
There is no evidence of that. One has only to look at the timing of shifts. A man on the 6 o'clock to 2 o'clock shift cannot get to Haydock Park, or wherever it may be. The best he can do is to get into the betting shop. British Standard Time has no relevance whatever to those men who come off shift and can only go into the betting shop.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I fear that this is becoming an almost metaphysical argument, but perhaps my hon. Friend will agree that, whatever view his constituents take, people still like a flutter and take an interest in racing every day. All I tried to argue was that that would be impossible without a sufficiently large attendance at race meetings so that a market on the race could be properly formulated. If that proposition is true, my argument must be in the interest of the working men in his constituency.
§ Mr. Golding
I was shocked by my hon. Friend's argument earlier, and I am further shocked now. How, at this present time, anyone can encourage bigger attendance at mid-week race meetings I do not know. I know that the hard working shift workers I represent would not agree with that point of view.
On all sides at present increased productivity is being demanded of the work-people. In fact, postal workers have recently been given the stick by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications because of the fall in productivity in the postal services in the last two years. The significance of its being in the last two years has evidently not sunk into the mind of the Minister, but it is the period during which we have had B.S.T.
The report itself makes clear that B.S.T. has led to a 1 per cent. fall in productivity in the postal service; to a decline in productivity of almost half of 1 per cent. on the Post Office engineering 1412 and telephone side; and to a significant loss in productivity in building. It is quite wrong to castigate the workers when the cause of the fall in productivity is clearly B.S.T.
Many of us have received many letters from constituents demanding an end of B.S.T. The significant thing is that those who support B.S.T. do so in a lukewarm fashion, and that is true of our constituents. The people who oppose it very strongly suffer from it.
The House should consider the postmen and the occupational groups who are badly hit by British Standard Time, and we should go from the comfort of these benches into the Lobby to support them.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
There are four large vested interests in favour of Greenwich Mean Time. I am in favour of British Standard Time. First, there is the big farmers lobby and the agricultural lobby as a whole; secondly, there is the construction industry; and, thirdly, there is the one for which I have the greatest sympathy, the post office workers and the men who deliver the letters. But there is a fourth lobby which has not been mentioned, namely, the "burglars' union". In the belief that I would be very well suited to put their case, it was suggested to me that I should put it, but I had to say that I could not support it in view of other larger constituency interests. Most good burglars like to do their work, as the French would put it, "cinqàsept". Much more burglary would take place if we reverted to Greenwich Mean Time. An additional hour of darkness means a great deal more business for the burglar and more trouble for the police.
One section of the population has not been mentioned. The elderly and the retired are entitled to as much consideration as the working man. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding), who made a slashing attack on British Standard Time, will now hear the situation concerning retired people. Unfortunately, the Isle of Thanet does not have a very large population of hardworking people and therefore I am not able to say with great pomposity that we all work in the Isle of Thanet. We have the largest proportion of retired people in the country, an enormous number of 1413 elderly ladies, and, thanks to the policies of the Labour Government, the highest unemployment record practically anywhere in the United Kingdom.
Between three and half-past four in the afternoon many of my constituents can be seen playing bowls in Broadstairs. A large number of children enjoy themselves in sport which can be played until half-past four in the afternoon. I am sorry to say that, unlike the miners of Wales, we cannot afford beautifully flood-lit rugby grounds. We look forward to having a good centre for recreation, but we have nothing like that at the moment. The area is not like the rich industrial Midlands or like parts of my own country of Wales which, I am glad to say, are much better off than they used to be.
Most old people want to enjoy their afternoons out and not have to return home in the dark. If I remember aright, it can be completely dark at about 3.45 p.m. In my constituency there are about 50 old-age pensioners' clubs and associations. At present, all their meetings take place in the afternoon. They can enjoy their afternoons and still get home before dark. If we return to Greenwich Mean Time, they will have to go home in the dark, and more and more old people are getting worried about the prospect.
In my view, old people should have our first consideration. They represent between 20 and 25 per cent. of the population and, as a large group of people, in my view they should receive priority. It does not matter all that much to a builder if he leaves home in the morning in darkness and, after all, builders are just one section of industry.
I turn now to the point which has been made about sport. Obviously a number of hon. Gentlemen do not understand the racing fraternity as I do. I have been associated with the sport for some years. I am not concerned only with bowls. It is a terrible situation when the first race of the day has to be at 11.30 a.m. in order that racing may finish by 2.30 or 2.45 because it is too dark later in the afternoon.
Greenwich Mean Time also affects those who play football of all kinds, since it does not enable them to practise after finishing the day's work. They are not all miners working on the coal face. All 1414 sorts of people belong to amateur clubs. We see a great increase of youthful participation in active sport today. Whether people play football or rugger, whether they are interested in racing or whether they play bowls in a more leisurely fashion, all of them want the present experiment to continue. We have a seven-day week, and people have two and a half days in which to enjoy their respective leisure and pleasure sports which need an extra hour of daylight.
In any event, going back to G.M.T. means going back to its for nearly six months of the year, under the old Summer Time Act of 1922. That seems to be ludicrous. If we have to make a change, it would seem that it is needed only for part of November, December, January and February. In my view, it would be much better to keep on the present excellent experiment.
For a long time, I was a member of the all-party committee on tourism. The subject of British Standard Time came before that committee, and we were united in putting forward the proposal that, for the sake of the travel organisations and tourism generally, the experiment was a good one. The British Hotels and Restaurants Association, catering firms, B.E.A., B.O.A.C. and all the other tourist organisations are supporters of the present situation for many reasons which I need not go into now.
Within three years, tourism will be our greatest industry. It is well on the way to being that now. It far overshadows the great industries which are opposed to the present position. On grounds of humanity for the old, of recreation for the young, and of major industry, I say that we have been far too narrow in the lobbies that we have received and that we should take a broader view. If we take that view, let us stick to the present and then work a compromise for the really difficult months of December, January and February, which this House might easily be able to reconcile.
§ 9.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Throughout this debate so many have used arguments of preference for some kind of convenience. Those who are looking for the convenience of their constituents, for other interests which they may claim to represent, can do so honestly and with considerable validity.
1415 But what is much more important than the convenience of some particular section of the community is to consider the real issues in this debate as I see them—the issues of the cost in lives and in money. This is really what this debate should be about. We can all think of people who will benefit from some part of the change in or the continuation of the present system. What is important is that we consider the whole cost in lives and in money. It is when we look at this that the position becomes a little clearer.
One very large element in money is the cost of electricity that could be saved if we were to continue British Standard Time. This is estimated at about £100 million. All the arguments of the hill farmers, those people who want to go to betting shops and those who want to obtain advantages for tourism do not match this advantage that can be estimated as it is done in the White Paper.
Even more important than the cost in terms of money is the cost in terms of lives. I do not think sufficient notice has been taken of the Road Research Laboratory's paper that came out today. It is shameful that we have underestimated the impact that this should be making upon our debate. It is all very well talking about special interests, but when it is estimated that lives are being saved as a result of British Standard Time, each one of us as we go into the Division Lobby must weigh very carefully indeed how many lives are likely to be saved as a result of what we are doing and as a result of the way in which we vote tonight.
The evidence of this is clear. Paragraph 162(c) of the White Paper states:There is little doubt that British Standard Time has led to an overall improvement in road accident casualties …".It was not possible to quantify that statement at all precisely but the Road Research Laboratory—not a pressure group of any kind—has made that quantification which is available before we vote tonight. It has shown that as a result of the introduction of British Standard Time the number of lives saved and of those who have avoided serious injury has increased by 12 per cent. during the affected hours. This means that serious accidents and loss 1416 of life have fallen by 12 per cent. during the affected hours as a result of the introduction of British Standard Time, that 2,700 people have been saved from death or serious injury—in England 2,200, in Wales 25 and in the whole of Scotland 455.
Anybody who thinks that there are issues much more important than this should re-examine his priorities. In view of this reduction of 12 per cent. in the number of those killed or seriously injured, we must surely weigh this consideration with the other special interests which have been advanced. On that basis, I feel that we should agree that British Standard Time should continue.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Sir John Gilmour (Fife, East) rose—
§ Sir J. Gilmour
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Sheldon) made a strong plea that, on the ground of money saved and lives saved, we should continue the present system. All the speeches in the debate so far have shown that there is an extra cost incurred as a result of British Standard Time. On the question of lives and injury saved, the argument is far more difficult. The principal difficulty is that, because of British Standard Time, we have taken various steps to protect, for example, the lives of children in a way which we have never sought to do before.
I hope that the majority of right hon. and hon. Members will come down on the side of abolishing British Standard Time. I am sure that those who live in the South can overcome any difficulties which they will experience as a result, and I am confident that those who live in the North and the West would find it extremely hard to overcome their difficulties if British Standard Time were continued. For these reasons, I feel that we should reject the Order and go back to the systetm which we used to have.
§ Mr. Tom King rose—
§ 10.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
I sense that the House wishes to come to a conclusion. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I hope that the remainder of what I have to say will command the same universal assent as my opening remark.
I join in the congratulations already given to the three hon. Gentlemen and the hon. Lady who have made their maiden speeches today. They brought the views of their constituents to the debate and showed how strong is the concern felt in their own areas on this matter.
There are a few questions on which several of us have hoped for an answer. For instance, I did not succeed in interrupting the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), and neither did anyone else—[Interruption.]—and the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) asked for elucidation upon one matter which should be gone into—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I think that the House will agree that we have had an interesting and enjoyable debate. It is obvious that the House wishes to come to a conclusion. We ought now to listen quietly to the hon. and learned Member who has the Floor, so that we may come soon to that conclusion.
§ Mr. Bell
I have no intention of standing for more than a few minutes between the House and the Division which we are obviously approaching. But a few points were raised that I said that I would try to deal with, and it is right that I should try to do so. I shall leave all the matters that have been generally canvassed and turn to the questions that were left outstanding.
1418 Some hon. Members asked what would be the effect of defeating the Motion in the Division Lobby tonight. It would be that we should return to the British Summer Time Acts, as amended in Schedule 1 to the 1968 Act. That is, we should go back to Greenwich Mean Time from the Sunday after the fourth Saturday in October until the Sunday after the third Saturday in March. But the right to make Orders prescribing different dates would also revive, so that there would be the flexibility and the possibility of adjustment which some hon. Members particularly wanted.
The question of road casualties appears to concern some hon. Members very greatly. The document from the Road Research Laboratory which was put in the Library today was produced. It is rather odd that it should suddenly appear on the day of the debate, headed in a way which suggests that it is for use in the debate. I point out to the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, who raised the matter in an intervention during the speech of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and then developed it in his own speech but would not allow any intervention, that the Road Research Laboratory is saying in it not that there has been a reduction in casualties as a result of British Standard Time but that it thinks that if there had been Greenwich Mean Time during the winters concerned more people would have been killed. That is not statistics but an expression of opinion. It is just the Road Research Laboratory saying, "We think that more people would have been killed." [Interruption.]
I hope that I am correct in thinking that all hon. Members who wish to take part in the Division have now arrived. If there were any doubt about that, I should, in spite of the noise, continue to address you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for several more minutes. But I feel reasonably satisfied about that, and that hon. Members on both sides will take the United Kingdom view of the subject and vote in a way that will show that we are as thoughtful and as mindful of the interests of the further reaches of this Kingdom as we are of the coastal resorts mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies).
1419 I hope that the House will now reach a decision—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and throw out the Order, and with it British Standard Time.
§ Question put,
§ That the British Standard Time Order, 1970, a draft of which was laid before this House on 12th November, be approved:—
§ The House divided: Ayes, 81. Noes 366.1421
|Division No. 40.]||AYES||10.9 p.m.|
|Albu, Austen||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Ogden, Eric|
|Barnes, Michael||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Barnett, Joel||Harper, Joseph||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hattersley, Roy||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hon. James||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Cant, R. B.||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, North)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Hunter, Adam||Roper, John|
|Cockeram, Eric||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Cohen, Stanley||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Royle, Anthony|
|Conlan, Bernard||Johnson, Walter (Derby, South)||Sharpies, Richard|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Lawson, George||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Le Marchant, Spencer||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Lestor, Miss Joan||Small, William|
|Doig, Peter||Loughlin, Charles||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Strauss, Rt. Hn. C. R.|
|Dunnett, Jack||McElhone, Frank||Thomas. Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Forrester, John||McGuire, Michael||Tuck, Raphael|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mackie, John||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Garrett, W. E.||Meacher, Michael|
|Ginsburg, David||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Molloy, William||Mr. James Johnson and|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, East)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Mr. John H. Osborn.|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)|
|Abse, Leo||Carlisle, Mark||Eadie, Alex|
|Adley, Robert||Cary, Sir Robert||Edelman, Maurice|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Channon, Paul||Eden, Sir John|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Chapman, Sydney||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Chichester-Clark, R.||Edwards, William (Merioneth)|
|Ashton, Joe||Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Clark, William (Surrey, East)||Ellis, Tom|
|Atkinson, Norman||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Evans, Fred|
|Awdry, Daniel||Clegg, Walter||Eyre, Reginald|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Fell, Anthony|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Concannon, J. D.||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy|
|Baker, w. H. K. (Banff)||Coombs, Derek||Fernyhough, E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cooper, A. E.||Fidler, Michael|
|Baxter, William||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Cormack, Patrick||Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Costain, A. P.||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)|
|Benyon, W.||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, Central)||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)|
|Biffen, John||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Fletcher-Cooke, Charies|
|Bishop, E. S.||Crowder, F. P.||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Blaker, Peter||Curran, Charles||Fortescue, Tim|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Dalkeith, Earl of||Foster, Sir John|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Dalyell, Tam||Fowler, Norman|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Dance, James||Fox, Marcus|
|Booth, Albert||Davidson, Arthur||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)|
|Boscawen, R. T.||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Fry, Peter|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Bowden, Andrew||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Gardner, Edward|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack||Gilbert, Dr. John|
|Braine, Bernard||Davis, Clinton (Hackney, Central)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)|
|Bray, Ronald||Deakins, Eric||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)|
|Brewis, John||Dean, Paul||Glynn, Dr. Alan|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Golding, John|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Dempsey, James||Goodhart, Philip|
|Buchan, Norman||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Goodhew, Victor|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Dormand, J. D.||Gorst, John|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Gourlay, Harry|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Driberg, Tom||Gower, Raymond|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn)||Duffy, A. E. P.||Grant, George (Morpeth)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, West)||Dykes, Hugh||Gray, Hamish|
|Green, Alan||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Rossi, Hugh (Homaey)|
|Grieve, Percy||Maclennan, Robert||Rost, Peter|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||McManus, Frank||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Gurden, Harold||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||MacPherson, Malcolm||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Madel, David||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Hamling, William||Marks, Kenneth||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Marten, Neil||Sillars, James|
|Hardy, Peter||Mather, Carol||Silverman, Julius|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Maude, Angus||Simeons, Charles|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Mawby, Ray||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Havers, Michael||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J>||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Hawkins, Paul||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hay, John||Mendelson, John||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, North)|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Soref, Harold|
|Heseltine, Michael||Millan, Bruce||Spearing, Nigel|
|Hicks, Robert||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Speed, Keith|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Miscampbell, Norman||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hiley, Joseph||Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W)||Sproat, Iain|
|Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Stainton, Keith|
|Holland, Philip||Moate, Roger||Stallard, A. W.|
|Holt, Miss Mary||Molyneaux, James||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Money, Ernie||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Horam, John||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Hordern, Peter||Monro, Hector||Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||More, Jasper||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, North)||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Strang, Gavin|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Hunt, John||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Sutcliffe, John|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Mudd, David||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|James, David||Murray, Ronald King||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Janner, Greville||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Tebbit, Norman|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Neave, Airey||Temple, John M.|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Jessel, Toby||Normanton, Tom||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Nott, John||Tinn, James|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||O'Malley, Brian||Torney, Tom|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, South)||Onslow, Cranley||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Trew, Peter|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Oswald, Thomas||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Jopling, Michael||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Owen, Idris (Stockport, North)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Waddington, David|
|Kellett, Mrs. Elaine||Paisley, Mr. Ian||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Kelley, Richard||Pardoe, John||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Kerr, Russell||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Wall, Patrick|
|Kilfedder, James||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Wallace, George|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pendry, Tom||Walters, Dennis|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, South)||Pentland, Norman||Ward, Dante Irene|
|King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Percival, Ian||Watkins, David|
|Kinnock, Neil||Pounder, Rafton||Weatheill, Bernard|
|Kinsey, J. R.||Weitzman, David|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Knox, David||Price, J. T, (Westhoughton)||Wells, William (Waisall, N.)|
|Lambie, David||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Lambton, Antony||Probert, Arthur||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Lamond, James||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Whitchead, Philip|
|Lane, David||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Raison, Timothy||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Latham, Arthur||Ramsden, Rt. Hn, James||Wilkinson, John|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Rankin, John||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Redmond, Robert||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, East)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Longden, Gilbert||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Loveridge, John||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Ridsdale, Julian||Woodnutt, Mark|
|MacArthur, Ian||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Woof, Robert|
|McCann, John||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Coronwy (Caernarvon)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|McCartney, Hugh||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, North)||Younger, Hn. George|
|MacColl, James||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|McCrindle, R. A.||Robertson, John (Paisley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mackenzie, Gregor||Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n & R'dnor)||Mr. Charles R. Morris and|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmamock)||Mr. Ronald Bell.|