Mixed feelings for clock change

Whilst the proposal to switch Britain to permanent summer time has been dropped by the coalition Government, a small majority of the British public support moving the clocks forward an hour and adopting British Summer Time (BST) all year round.

Changing the clocks would bring the country in line with most of the rest of Western Europe (such as France and Spain, but not Portugal), and would result in darker mornings and lighter evenings.

The outdoor industry believes Rebecca Harris’s Daylight Saving Bill had the potential to deliver a £3.5bn boost to the sector.

A YouGov poll reveals that:

  • 53% of people want the clocks to go forward an hour in Britain
  • 32% would be opposed to any change
  • Scots are the least in favour of the change, with just 35% supporting the idea
  • And 52% of Scots opposing
  • Interestingly, older people in general are much more likely to support the clocks going forward, with 60% of the over 60s agreeing with the move
  • Compared with only 36% of 18 to 24 year-olds.

Supporters believe that lighter evenings would bring a host of benefits such as a reduction in evening accident rates, saving the NHS over £200m a year, as well as the tourism boost.

However, critics in Scotland have argued against the proposals, saying that any evening benefits would be cancelled out by increased accidents during the morning commute and school runs, and could see many children walking to school in the dark, with some parts of Scotland not seeing daylight until 10am in winter. Angus MacNeil, the Nationalist MP for the Western Isles, thinks that the Coalition’s plans are a cynical move and told the Daily Mail that, ‘Plunging Dundee into darkness to boost tourism in Torquay is simply not acceptable’.

This is clearly not the end of the discussion. The idea is already being floated to keep the current mixture of Greenwich Meantime and British Summer Time, but alter the dates the clocks change. The idea comes from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s membership development officer Mike Dales, writing on his blog.

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