This Conference calls upon Her Majesty's Government to adopt Single Double Summertime (SDST)
Proposer: Steve Mills, Coventry Branch
Seconder: Bruce Undy, Coventry Branch
Policy Respondee: Ken Wigfield, Committee Member of the Rural Affairs Policy Unit
The Motion was not carried
Personal Vote For: 57
Personal Vote Against: 97
Branch Vote for: 46,958
Branch Vote Against: 50,479
In the UK, clocks follow Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) from October to March and British Summer Time (BST) which is GMT + 1 hour from March to October. Most European countries follow Central European Time, which is one hour ahead of GMT in winter and two hours ahead of GMT in summer i.e. always one hour ahead of the UK. The FSB Conference therefore called on Her Majesty's Government to adopt the Single Double British Summertime.
The motion was proposed by Steve Mills from the Warwickshire and Coventry region who commented on the fact in the current climate there is many economic and environmental benefits to the issue. Mr Mills went on to cite the fact that with the adoption of SDST, an additional three hours a day would be created for companies to continue working. Tourism is a key example of this as an industry that represents 4.5% of the GDP and supports 2 million jobs. This would be further enhanced through growth of between £2.5-5 million per year and add between 60,000-80,000 jobs to the sector. The Government would also benefit through extra taxes and revenue. Even farmers are seemingly coming around to the notion as with advancements in machinery and techniques the extra light on a morning is no longer as crucial as it once was. Mr Mills concluded by touching on the clear cost saving in energy and speaking around the obvious improvement in links and communications with Europe. Airlines, ferries and trains would have an easier scheduling job and we would be allied with 16 of the 25 EU member states. Moreover, out of the 25 million visitors to the UK, 14 million would now be in the same time zone as the UK which would have an inevitable improvement on trade links.
It was seconded by Bruce Undy, also from the Warwickshire and Coventry region who as is the norm, reserved the right to reply.
Ken Wigfield, an important cog and member on the Rural Affairs Policy Unit responded to the motion by saying it was a compelling case from Steve Mills. Mr Wigfield went on to quote the Government policy in that such a change would only be made if all the UK devolved countries agreed with such. With Scotland and many farmers still against the change it was going to continue to be a difficult sell. Moreover, not everyone in tourism are convinced that the extra evening hours will have any benefit or bearing on footfall. Mr Wigfield was clear that more research needs to be undertaken on the issue particularly with regards to the industries that work non-conventional hours. There is currently a private members bill assessing the validity of a change and therefore FSB policy remains neutral to this issue.
Feedback was invited from the audience with David Land from Edinburgh against the motion in stating that we shouldn't be debating something with such a weak business focus. Gill Poet from South East Yorkshire felt the motion had merit and argued for the issue by saying that the energy savings from such a change would be reason enough to pass the motion. Other members disagreed and felt that the energy saving would be false as you would use additional energy in the mornings which would be darker. Karl Craig-West commented against the motion and asked whether the delegates really wanted time wasted on such a nothing issue.
Brue Undy, whom had seconded the motion, now choose the right to reply and commented that it does effect business and for many sectors the extra hours on an evening would be crucial. Mr Undy went on to say it is important that we increase work as well as profit for business and the additional hours of light would do this.
Steve Mills concluded the debate by stating that outdoor trades would benefit hugely from a change; been able to work into the evening after starting when the day had warmed up. To close, Mr Mills stated that "it was time to get in line with everyone else, come out of the dark ages and back into the light!"