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Daylight Savings Bill

February 28, 2011

Daylight Savings Bill The changing of Britain’s clocks to has been much debated following the Daylight Saving Bill passing its Second Reading in the House last December. I attended Parliament for the debate and voted in favour of this issue being allowed to have further parliamentary examination.

The Bill proposes a three year trial which would result in Britain’s clocks shifting one hour forward throughout the year known as Single Double Summer Time. The benefits of changing the clocks have been widely publicised and stem from the idea that the hours of daylight would be used more efficiently as less would be ‘wasted’ during the early morning when the majority of people are asleep. The improved use of daylight would – we are told – be likely to provide a welcome boost to the tourism and retail sectors as well as having notable health benefits and reducing both energy consumption and road fatalities.

However, the less desirable repercussions have been provided with significantly less air time in the press and media. I have considered the impact of this Bill carefully given the consequences for business and many of my constituents. Whilst the tourism and retail sectors would quite likely receive a boost, thousands of businesses based in the UK who trade in US markets would also see their operations significantly inconvenienced. As it stands the UK is an ideal location for European firms who trade with the US due to time and language considerations. The Daylight Saving Bill would do much to erase one of these competitive advantages, especially in the financial and professional services arena. To put it into perspective, if you are trading with the West Coast of the US then an extra hour difference would mean that it would be impossible to talk to these customers or clients during “normal” office hours.

Our advantageous trading position with the US would have to be abandoned in exchange for lighter days.

On balance I feel that whilst there are benefits, these would not adequately offset the resulting forfeit of an important competitive advantage we hold over almost all of Europe when trading with the US, which will remain for some time to come the world’s largest economy.