Clock change could put kids at risk, warns Beith

CONCERN has been voiced by Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith that local children will be put in danger by a move to put the clocks forward by an hour.

Despite raising the issue in a debate last week, the campaign to move the UK’s clocks forward has cleared its first House of Commons hurdle.

The Daylight Saving Bill has been introduced by Essex Tory Rebecca Harris, but Mr Beith accused her of being “rather dismissive” of the concerns on people in constituencies like Berwick.

“My honorary friend seems rather dismissive of the concerns of those in a constituency such as mine – where opinion seems evenly divided for and against the change – who are genuinely worried, for example, about children having to wait for school buses at the end of country lanes on many more dark mornings than they do now. Those concerns cannot simply be ignored or regarded as procedural,” said Mr Beith.

“Some are dropped by taxis from more remote locations and left to wait for the school bus. One of people’s real concerns is that if the clocks were changed, that would have to be done in the dark on many occasions.”

However the legislation was given a second reading by 92 votes to 10 and goes to its detailed committee stage. The Bill would require the Government to conduct a cross-departmental analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all, or part of, the year. If this analysis found that a clock change would benefit the UK, the Bill requires that the Government initiate a trial clock change to determine the full implications.

Ms Harris said the Bill could save up to 80 lives a year by giving Britain lighter evenings in the winter. She said it would boost the tourist trade as well as the retail and leisure sector.

Opponents fear a later sunrise would not only endanger children travelling to school in the winter but would also present problems for farmers and outdoor workers. However Business minister Ed Davey said the change could not be made without consensus throughout the UK.