Clause 1 - Cross-departmental analysis

Daylight Saving Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 7th December 2011.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of William McCrea William McCrea Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow DUP Leader of the House of Commons

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: clause 2 stand part.

Government new clause 1—Report to be prepared on advancing time—

‘(1) The Secretary of State must prepare a report on the potential costs and benefits of advancing the time for general purposes in the United Kingdom by one hour.

(2) In preparing the report the Secretary of State must have regard to the different interests of persons in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

(3) In this Act “the report” means the report required to be prepared under this section.’.

Amendment (a), after subsection (1) insert—

‘(1A) The Governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are to prepare a report on the potential costs and benefits of advancing the time for general purposes for their respective parts of the United Kingdom by one hour.’.

Amendment (b), in subsection (2) leave out from ‘must’ to end and insert—

‘include the unamended reports from the devolved Governments on the costs and benefits of advancing the time for general purposes for their respective parts of the United Kingdom by one hour.’.

Government new clause 2—Independent Oversight Group—

‘(1) The Secretary of State must appoint a group (to be known as the Independent Oversight Group) to advise the Secretary of State on the preparation of the report.

(2) A member of the group holds and vacates office in accordance with the terms of his or her appointment (which may include provision about resignation or removal from office).

(3) The Secretary of State may—

(a) defray expenses of members of the group;

(b) make facilities available to members of the group.

(4) The group must act within any terms of reference given to it in writing by the Secretary of State.

(5) Such terms of reference may, in particular, include terms about—

(a) particular matters on which the group should establish the facts or give advice, or

(b) the timing of advice to be given by the group.’.

Amendment (a), after subsection (1) insert—

‘(1A) Membership of the group shall consist of three members from England, three Members from Wales, three Members from Northern Ireland and three Members from Scotland. The group must elect one member as chair.’.

Government new clause 3—Publication of the report—

‘(1) The Secretary of State must publish the report before the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

(2) But if, before the end of that period, the Independent Oversight Group recommends to the Secretary of State that a longer time be allowed for publication—

(a) subsection (1) does not apply, and

(b) instead, the report must be published before the end of the period of 18 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

(3) The Secretary of State must send a copy of the report as published to each appropriate national authority.’.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Dr McCrea. I think that I am right in saying that no other member of the Committee is from Northern Ireland, so given that the Bill has important implications for Northern Ireland, the Chair will no doubt support our deliberations should we need any advice.

I am delighted to introduce to the Committee the amendments that the hon. Member for Castle Point and I seek to make. I shall begin by adding to what the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr Prisk), said during the money resolution debate about the hon. Member for Castle Point, who has been indefatigable in pursuit of her Bill. Her willingness to work constructively with the Government for the sake of having a proper examination of the merits of daylight saving in the public interest has been admirable, and I thank her for her endeavours.

I might add that the hon. Lady’s six-clause Bill was an excellent start for what is required. However, what was good enough as the basis for a debate in the Chamber needs considerable unpacking as we drill down in Committee. Of necessity, therefore, the hon. Lady’s Bill has doubled in length, for which I apologise to the Committee.

I should also say that there are no givens in this situation. The amendments tabled by the Government and the hon. Lady follow the Bill’s approach of requiring a proper review of the potential effects of daylight saving before any action is taken. Moreover—this cannot be over-emphasised—this issue requires consensus throughout the country. The Government would not expect to carry out a trial or make any change if there was clear opposition from any part of the country.

The existing clauses 1 and 2 provide a scheme for the Secretary of State to conduct a cross-departmental analysis on various points related to daylight saving and for a new independent commission to report on that analysis. The amendments proposed by the Government and the hon. Member for Castle Point make provision for the Secretary of State to prepare a report dealing with costs and benefits, but only of advancing time by one hour in the United Kingdom and giving a longer time scale in which to do that. There would also be an independent oversight group to advise the Secretary of State on the preparation of the report.

Clause 1 requires the Secretary of State to conduct a cross-departmental cost-benefit analysis of two matters: first, advancing time by one hour for all or some of the year; and secondly, whether the current dates for the start and end of summer time are optimal. New clauses 1 and 6 would replace that clause with a requirement that the Secretary of State prepare a report on the potential costs and benefits of advancing time in the UK by one hour. Therefore the key requirement that there be an analysis of the potential impact of moving the clocks forward by one hour remains.

I have already mentioned the Government’s policy that there should be consensus in favour of change before any change can occur. New clause 1 would require the Secretary of State to have regard to the different interests of persons in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in preparing that report, so that if the potential effects would be more significant in one part of those areas than another, that could be taken into account.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

I am grateful, first, that my hon. Friend the Minister is here. It is wonderful that we are finally debating the Bill in Committee, so his presence is most welcome. However, that prompts the question, which will be at the heart of much of the debate today, whether this Parliament is a fair reflection of the whole country. Is this the right place to make such decisions, and to what extent is the whole issue of daylight saving a devolved matter? Will the Minister emphasise the importance of representation across not only this Committee but this Parliament, and that decisions are made by Parliament for the entire country?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

My hon. Friend is constitutionally correct. However, he will also agree with me and the Prime Minister that consensus on this issue is important. We govern for the whole of the country, so we need to have regard to the interests of all of it. It is therefore important that we ensure that we have regard, as new clause 1 does, to the different interests of people in all the nations of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

The hon. Member for Bournemouth East is absolutely right, but it makes eminent sense to consult the four nations and, indeed, some of the regions of the United Kingdom. If two of the elected bodies—the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales—were in favour and one was against, what would the Government’s opinion be? Would one of them have a right of veto?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

We have said clearly—no doubt, this will come out often during today’s deliberations—that the Government would not expect to carry out a trial or to make any change if there were clear opposition from any part of the country. It is important to put that on the record, and I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has given me the chance to repeat that point. We are a United Kingdom and I hope that we will remain so, and therefore we should take account of the interests of all the nations within it.

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee

Why will the Government not reflect on another way forward? If one part of the United Kingdom does not want to see any  change, why will the Minister not consider giving it the power to set its own time zone, as happens in the United States of America?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

That issue has been debated on several occasions, not least during the debates on the Scotland Bill, and this House voted clearly against such a proposition. With such a clear demonstration of this Parliament’s view, it would be unwise to revisit that issue so soon.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

May I just express my understanding of the difficult position that the Minister finds himself in? He has, however, just confirmed that any of the devolved Administrations have a veto over the Bill. That is effectively what he is saying, which is a very strange way to create legislation for the entire United Kingdom. It prompts the question: what is the purpose of Parliament if we are not here to create laws for the entire country? If all laws had to go through all the devolved Parliaments, there would be no point in our sitting here having this discussion in the first place.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I am in danger of repeating myself in answering my hon. Friend’s question. We have an important role. Let us remember that, in the past, this House has passed legislation for one part of our nation—for example, Scottish legislation has gone through this House. Therefore, this House has to take into account the interests of all the nations in our country. I hope that he is reassured that we are balancing the interests of all the people represented by this Parliament, and that we are doing so in a sensitive, balanced and proportionate way.

Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

I am pleased by the Minister’s reassurance, because I certainly do not want see different time zones in different parts of the United Kingdom. However, there are range of different opinions in the county represented by me and my right hon. Friend the Member for East Yorkshire. I am not convinced of the need for a change, but I am happy for there to be a review. How will the Minister engage with the regions for England, and who will speak for the regions? It is obvious who will speak for the nations with devolved Administrations, but who will be the voice of the regions?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Let us remember what the Bill will do. It seeks to set up a report process, with an oversight group, which will ensure that robust methodologies are applied across Government during the research. It will therefore be important to look at all the interests of everyone in England, as well as all of those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I hope that that reassures my hon. Friend.

I will continue talking to the first set of amendments, because it is important to understand why we are not able to accept clause 1 as currently drafted. The requirement to consider the dates for summer time, and the scope to examine advancing time by one hour for part of the year only, should be removed because of the constraints of European directive 200/84/EC on summer time arrangements. I hope that my hon. Friends will remain in their places, despite my having mentioned a European directive, so that I can explain why it is important. The directive fixes indefinitely the dates on which clocks  move forward at the beginning of the summer time period, and those on which they move back at the end of the summer. To change the dates of summer time would require a change to the directive, and that would be a difficult task without substantial support from other member states.

Colleagues may like to reflect that when the directive was passed, because of UK insistence, other member states changed the dates on which they alter their clocks to coincide with UK dates. In forming that directive, therefore, the UK got its way and Europe had to change so that we did not have to.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

We have discussed these directives in the past many times, but we are now at an unique moment when people are talking about changing many of the agreements that surround the European Union. This is only a directive and, as we are finding out from Angela Merkel and others, directives are not carved in stone and are always up for renegotiation. Perhaps it is time to look at this directive again, and create a provision that is more suitable for all our needs.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

If the hon. Gentleman—I say this very gently—is suggesting that this directive should be part of a negotiation between Britain and our European colleagues concerning treaty changes with regard to the eurozone, he is slightly over-egging the significance of the matter. Although it is an important issue, and it is right to debate it today, I am sure that on reflection he will agree that the economic challenges facing Europe, and therefore this country, are so great that when we discuss treaty changes and what the UK should ask for, we should be careful about what we seek. We want a solution to the eurozone crisis. [Interruption.] I am happy to give way, although I am sure that if we were to continue discussing the eurozone, you would call me to order, Dr McCrea.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

You will be pleased to know that I do not wish to talk about the eurozone, Dr McCrea, although this is probably the only time that I shall agree with the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar. He raises an important issue and I wonder whether the Minister has considered it. The clocks change 51 days before the winter solstice, and 101 days after it. In other words, the time span between the shortest day and when the clocks are changed is not balanced; it is two-thirds one way and one third the other. There is scope, therefore, perhaps in a more general debate, for Britain to take the initiative and ask whether it would make sense for the clocks to change on a more balanced alignment with the winter solstice.

Secondly, when the clocks change in October and in March, on both occasions they are two weeks out of sync with the United States. That causes complete chaos in the tourism industry with flights and so on, because for two weeks in the year there is only four hours’ difference between the UK and New York.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

As usual, my hon. Friend makes some powerful points; I know that he is one of those members of the Committee who are champing at the bit to see change in this area, and we have spent a long time  getting to this point. As he is aware, however, there are many sensitivities and difficulties in the way, but after amicable negotiations, my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point and I have managed to put the matter to the House and take it forward. If we were to follow the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar and look at all the other issues, the difficulty of having to renegotiate a directive for 26 other member states would, I gently suggest, delay matters quite considerably. Although my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East is being ambitious and makes powerful arguments, I suggest that in order to proceed, we put aside the issue of the winter solstice and continue with the legislation before us. I take his point, however, and perhaps in future those with the honour of serving as Minister with responsibility for time will be able to take the matter forward at the Competitiveness Council.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 2:45 pm, 7th December 2011

I believe that the Competitiveness Council has quite a lot on its agenda, but no doubt I ought to raise the matter with Commissioner Tajani because, as an Italian, I am sure he would be interested.

I now turn to amendment (a). As I have mentioned, the cost-benefit report provided for by new clause 1 already requires consideration of the different interests of persons in each of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. In preparing the report, we envisage inviting the devolved Administrations to provide any evidence they might have on the impact of any such change. Requiring each of the devolved Executives to prepare their own report would entail unnecessary expense and potential duplication. One report also means that a consistent methodological approach can be taken to monetising the likely effects. I would, therefore, urge the Committee not to accept amendment (a).

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

The money resolution carried by the House provides for moneys incurred by any Minister of the Crown to be paid out of general funds. Were amendment (a) agreed to, how would the reports be paid for?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

My hon. and learned Friend makes an interesting point. Amendment (a) surprises me, because it suggests that this Parliament should pass legislation that requires expenditure by the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. I am surprised that the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, who tabled the amendment, would think that that is a proper duty of this Parliament. Perhaps he would say that it is a wording issue that could be changed, but I would have thought that he would not want that to happen. My hon. and learned Friend is right that the amendment raises some interesting constitutional issues.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

The solution is simple: any expenditure incurred as a result of the Bill should come from the money resolution passed by the House.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Given that the work would be undertaken by the devolved Administrations, I am not sure whether that is what the House intended when it passed the  money resolution, so I will not take up the hon. Gentleman’s kind offer. I will be inviting the Committee to resist his amendment.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I am certain that the money resolution does not enable us to require the devolved Administrations to incur expenditure.

Clause 2 requires the Secretary of State to appoint an independent commission of up to 13 members to assess the Secretary of State’s cost-benefit analysis. The commission will be required to report within six months of its members’ appointment.

New clause 2 provides for the Secretary of State to establish an independent oversight group of experts to advise him on the preparation of a report referred to in new clause 1. I underline that an independent group of experts made up of academics in certain fields is envisaged, so neither Departments nor the devolved Executives would be invited to nominate representatives. When preparing the report, however, we expect to invite the devolved Administrations to contribute to the analysis any evidence they may have on the subject.

On amendment (b), it is not the purpose of the independent oversight group to be representative of a particular group. Indeed, if it were, that would compromise the group’s ability to fulfil its role, which is to provide advice with the aim of enabling proper and robust analysis of the potential impact. The interests of people in the different parts of the United Kingdom are properly taken into account by new clauses 1 and 2 with the requirement on the Secretary of State to have regard to those interests when preparing the report and, as I shall come to when we discuss clause 3, at the point of any proposal to advance time either for a trial or permanently.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

The Minister is going at great speed, and I understand why. He talks about the make-up of the independent commission and how the Secretary of State will make the appointments. For my clarification—I am sure everybody else understands it—which Secretary of State is that? The issue crosses a number of Departments. Will other Secretaries of State be consulted, so that there is cross-departmental consideration? We are talking about tourism and various other things that come under different Departments. Which Secretary of State will it be?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

It will be the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; it is the responsibility of his Department. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State usually consults on such issues. We consulted widely across Whitehall during discussion of our amendments with my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point, and I expect the same to happen in this case; I give the hon. Member for Ynys Môn that assurance.

I want to underline why we are resisting the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar. He desires the independent oversight group to be made representative of all the UK nations, but that is not needed, because the group’s job is not to decide the issue. It has the job—a very dry job, in a way—of reassuring Parliament that the methodologies applied  by the different Departments in producing the report are robust. That is very much the job of experts—statisticians and those skilled in research methodologies—not a representative body. I hope that that reassures the hon. Gentleman that we are not trying to exclude a point of view; that is not the purpose.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

To an extent that has reassured me, but there is always the residual fear of bias. Does the Minister envisage any of the experts being from overseas?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I have not put my mind to whom the Secretary of State will appoint, except to say, in a generic way, that they will have to be experts and contribute to the analysis of the independent oversight group. It may well be sensible to appoint someone from overseas who is expert in a particular research methodology, but in no sense would that be trying to create some representative role. It is a very focused group that will ensure, and give Parliament reassurance, that the report that will come out of this Act—I hope that the Bill will become an Act—can be relied on, and that we therefore have a firm evidence base on which to make our decisions.

New clause 3 requires the Secretary of State to publish the report within a year of Royal Assent, unless the group recommends allowing longer, in which case there will be a six-month extension to the deadline. The Secretary of State would also be required to send a copy of the report to the devolved Administrations. The original clause 1 imposed a deadline for the publication of the analysis envisaged by it; that deadline was to be three months from Royal Assent. Three months is clearly too short a period to prepare a proper report, which is why new clause 3 applies a deadline of one year. However, as one year might not be sufficient, there is scope for a six-month extension if the independent oversight group recommends allowing more time.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

The new clause certainly outlines when the Secretary of State will report back, but if the experiment proves a terrible failure and has adverse impacts on several Members—I am thinking of my constituency—what measures are in place to bring an end to it?

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I assure my hon. Friend that at this point we are talking about how the report will be prepared and who will ensure that it is of the highest quality. Later, we will come to the trial, but we have not started it at this stage. This is about the research base.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

My hon. Friend has jumped slightly, but I assure him that at this stage I expect, as I am sure everyone in the Committee expects, that the independent oversight group will ensure that the Departments properly consider not only the different nations’ interests, but the interests of different religious communities, sports groups and other groups, whatever they might be. It is clear, particularly in the work that my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point has done, that many people support the move, and quite a few have some counter-arguments. For a report to pass muster and give the House the evidence base to decide on proceeding to a trial, it  would have to look at all those interests. If it did not, the House would no doubt find a reason not to proceed with a trial. I hope that that reassures my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon.

I hope that I have reassured my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point. I know that she was reassured by our previous discussions that our new clauses take into account her wishes. I also hope that I have reassured other hon. Friends that we do not need to amend the Government’s proposed new clauses.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

It is a pleasure to serve on this Committee under your chairmanship, Dr McCrea. I, too, pay tribute to the hon. Member for Castle Point, who has worked constructively on the issue not only with the Government, as the Minister has said, but with the Opposition. She has been very helpful in allaying the fears of some colleagues on the Opposition Benches.

The Opposition have no objections in principle to the production of the report. Many colleagues still have concerns, however, particularly those from the northern part of England and from Scotland—I come from there, as you can hear from my accent, Dr McCrea—and in the past few days, when they realised that the Public Bill Committee was sitting today, many of them expressed their concerns to me. Many of the polarised arguments that we have heard on both sides of the House could be allayed by a properly researched and funded report to both Houses on the pros and cons of daylight saving.

The amended Bill states the positives and the benefits of any changes to daylight saving, and refers to the report considering the positive outcomes. That report must also provide an evidence-based consideration of the cons, particularly in relation to those parts of Scotland where grave concerns have been raised about, for example, children going to school. Yesterday, however, I was delighted to note that the AA, Brake—the road safety charity—Road Safety GB, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Sustrans and the RAC Foundation have registered their support for the changes. It is important that the independent report takes evidence from those independent organisations so that it can dispel people’s legitimate fears. If those fears are found to be evidence-based, the status quo will obviously be easy to deliver.

I have also had discussions with a lot of west coast Members about the quality of light on that coast from Liverpool northwards in the months of November, December and January. Although I have been unable to do much research on that, I understand that the quality of light is diminished by cloud cover, and that the effect could be compounded by daylight saving changes. I hope that the independent commission will consider such issues and read the contributions made by hon. Members from across the country.

I appreciate that energy issues are not mentioned in new clauses 1, 2 or 3, but it is important that the report considers them and the impact on tourism in areas that are concerned about changes to the clock. Tourism accounts for 11% of Scotland’s economy, and if tourism got a significant boost, that could boost jobs and the growth agenda in Scotland.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to refer to energy issues. They have not been studied in great detail, but I have anecdotal evidence of people putting their heating on in October, even though the temperature had not dropped, because of the clock change. That has added to those people’s fuel bills, and energy price is the big issue that the nation currently faces.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Absolutely. The report should consider such major benefits. I do not want to steal anyone’s thunder, because some of this information has come from the hon. Member for Castle Point, but she has eloquently talked about peak demand for energy. As everyone goes home from work at the same time, and everyone switches on their kettles, televisions and lights at the same time, there is a stress on peak-demand energy. Most of that energy comes from the least energy-efficient sources.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

Rather than talking about projections and estimates, let me ask the hon. Gentleman this: is he aware of the experience in Indiana, which showed that those areas that changed the clock and had the darker mornings used more energy than those areas with the lighter mornings?

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman intervened on that particular point because it highlights why we need a proper researched report on all the issues. Many of those issues will be raised in the report, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take them on board. He should look at the evidence from an objective point of view and not from the border at Berwick. Not only would that be beneficial to the Committee but it would be fair to the hon. Member for Castle Point, who has introduced the Bill.

The Opposition will not support the two amendments to new clause 1 because, if the Scottish Government wish to have an in-depth report, which is what the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar seeks, they can do so tomorrow and they might have started it yesterday or at any point during their incumbency since 2007.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

The hon. Gentleman makes that point, but it is clear that the Scottish Government—and the Scottish National party—have decided not to have a proper, pragmatic assessment of the issues arising from such a report. It would be useful, if they wish to have evidence-based empirical research, for them to go ahead with it. They are being consulted, and their concerns will no doubt be expressed. I would be very disappointed if the consultations of the devolved Administrations were not appended to the report, so that we can all clearly see what they have said and the evidence behind that.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

I thought that I would add to this interesting dimension that is developing between two Scots. I have discussed with the leader of the Scottish  Nationals in the Scottish Parliament his views on daylight saving and this Bill—I understand his name was on one of the many Bills that came before this House in times gone by—and it will be very curious to see where the Scottish Nationals find themselves when they look at the issues with the head and not the heart.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

I am not sure that we should, in this Public Bill Committee, have a debate about the politics of Scotland, but the issue has arisen that daylight saving may or may not be good for Scotland. That issue will not be resolved today, but it should be resolved by this Private Member’s Bill being taken forward, and I shall be delighted if that happens.

The hon. Gentleman makes a point about whether the Scottish National party or, indeed, the First Minister of Scotland has brought the issue to this House. That highlights the fact that, in tabling the amendments, I am not sure that the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar wants to achieve a better Bill; he is perhaps trying to create another division between Scotland and England. He is trying to determine whether the Bill goes forward not by the pragmatic approach of using empirical evidence, but by driving a wedge between Scotland and England to advance a particular cause.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

I will not, if the hon. Gentleman does not mind.

I appreciate that the Minister has explained that the EU directive would restrict some of the manoeuvrability of the time scales. However, it would be useful if, when the independent report comes back and is being considered by the Secretary of State, it has a bit about the directive and whether changes to it should be sought. That would be a good measure, and it might be a useful compromise if the evidence for changing the clocks is neither one way nor the other.

I conclude by suggesting that it would be good if the Committee finished before it got dark, which would be a good way to start; by welcoming the report that will be produced and the independent oversight group for the Secretary of State; and by three-line underlining, if I may, the fact that the matter will have to come back to both Houses of Parliament for further debate, when we will have the proper evidence to examine all the issues to allay or to back up people’s fears about making changes to daylight saving.

Photo of Rebecca Harris Rebecca Harris Conservative, Castle Point

I thank the Minister and the shadow Minister for their kind words and the Minister and his staff for their very helpful approach throughout the negotiations on trying to reach agreement about the amendments to the Bill. I also put on record my thanks to the members of the Committee and to the more than 100 MPs who supported the Bill on Second Reading last year.

With the exception of the removal of the analysis of the date on which we change the clocks, the amendments tabled by the Minister and me build on the Bill that received that support in the House last year. The EU directive that prevents us from considering the dates on which we change the clocks is a fact of life that we have to accept in order to proceed with the Bill. As a Eurosceptic, I would prefer to ignore the influence of EU law.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

Does the hon. Lady agree that the EU directive probably hinders a more mature and advanced debate towards a mutually agreeable position?

Photo of Rebecca Harris Rebecca Harris Conservative, Castle Point

The hon. Gentleman has spoken on that issue many times when we have debated daylight saving, but I take the practical point that negotiations with other member states should not get in the way of our looking at daylight saving in Britain now that we have got this far.

I want to make it clear that the Bill is about daylight saving and advancing the surrounding arguments so that we have a better understanding of what it could mean for this country; it is not a Bill about changing our constitutional settlement with the EU or, dare I say, with the devolved Administrations.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

May I press the hon. Lady once more? Does she feel that the EU directive is helpful in moving forward?

Photo of Rebecca Harris Rebecca Harris Conservative, Castle Point

The EU directive is a fact of life.

I mirror the Minister’s words by saying how important it is that the intention of the Bill is not to force anything unwelcome on any part of the United Kingdom. That has always been my intention with the original Bill, and I think it is strengthened in the new clauses we are considering today. The purpose of the Bill is primarily to consider the evidence and bring the debate forward. I hope the evidence will be as overwhelmingly positive as many of the Bill’s backers suggest, but if it is not, we will have solved the argument once and for all, rather than having a lot of sterile debate whenever a private Member is bold enough to put their name to the issue or when the clocks change every autumn.

New clause 1 makes it absolutely clear that the Secretary of State, in his terms of reference for the report, must take into account the particular interests of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so there can be no question but that we have considered that. That has so often been a bugbear in proceeding with this issue.

I agree with the Minister that amendments (a) and (b) are not necessary, and I do not believe that accepting them would further the interests of the various parts of the Untied Kingdom. Rather curiously, amendment (b) would have the effect of withdrawing the interests of England from the Bill, which may be a slight oversight that the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar has not noticed. I know that he has occasionally called himself an English nationalist, as well as a Scots nationalist, but I think he may have slipped up there.

The amendment to change the make-up of the oversight group misses the point about what the oversight group is there for. The oversight group is envisaged as an academic group, not a representative one, to consider the Bill’s fairness.

Photo of Rebecca Harris Rebecca Harris Conservative, Castle Point

Having tried to ensure that the composition of this Committee has favourable balance throughout the political parties and good coverage throughout the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland,  which is difficult to achieve, I would not wish to limit the Minister’s scope to choose the right academic brains by seeking to make the nationalities fit—in many ways that is also an arguable thing.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

If we were to go down that road, not only would it be difficult and bind the hands of the Secretary of State, one would be asking academics to wear two hats, both to give their expertise, statistical analysis and research methodologies and to represent the various nations of the United Kingdom, which would put them in an invidious position. We have the right balance to ensure that this House, when it debates the report, can be sure that the underlying methodologies are robust.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

I am grateful to the hon. Lady, she is kind to give way again.

By “representative” I do not, of course, mean representing people but representative in background and having a range of experience; not necessarily being experienced before the committee, but having different experiences and backgrounds.

Photo of Rebecca Harris Rebecca Harris Conservative, Castle Point

I think that can be taken as read and that would be the case will all other Government research. It would be ensured that the right people for the job with the right background of experience were involved. We can take that as certain. The time for the political input is when we have the evidence to assess. That is when the devolved Administrations will be consulted and when any proposed trial would be subject to affirmative resolution of both Houses. The most important thing is to get good quality scientific evidence that people trust and that we can look at in future.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Dr McCrea, rather than sitting in front of you in the House. I too pay tribute to the hon. Member for Castle Point, who has taken a decent and nice tone throughout the years that we have been debating this issue. I am grateful to her for that and have a good personal relationship with her. We have had a useful dialogue behind the scenes, too.

I wish to speak to several amendments. Many hon. Members will know of my opposition to the changes proposed. Of course, I favour a compromise but feel that the EU directives prevent that. I would prefer a shorter, more symmetrical period around midwinter. If there were a trial, I would prefer to sign up for one year rather than three years, so that we review it fairly quickly rather than going through the misery that was apparent in the 1970s. We all know that the vote at the end was a huge 366 to 81.

The main purpose of my amendments is to ensure that the word of the Prime Minister is brought into the Bill. They also seek equality of treatment with each other for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In the new clauses, Northern Ireland is in a different position from that of Wales and Scotland. That is because these powers are devolved to Northern Ireland. It is only fair and right that the will of the Prime Minister be written into the Bill. No one has anything to fear if we go for proper, fair, representative consultation.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Prime Minister is very happy with the proposals in the Bill and feels that his interests and views are covered by our amendments.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

The Minister almost makes me fear that the Prime Minister has spoken with forked tongue in the past. Surely not. What we are looking for in what the Prime Minister has said is that all parts must be happy. That could be taken as meaning having due regard to the views of other areas of the United Kingdom. If that is done through the Secretary of State, it is still coming from the same Government. As a crofter, I can have due regard for my livestock but at the end of the day, they often end up on the kitchen table. One can have due regard without it in the end manifesting itself in anything material.

As the Secretaries of State come from one political tradition––the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland does not even come from any of the parties of Northern Ireland––it is only right that the devolved Governments have a proper say in the Bill. I do not see what the Government have to fear from that. That particularly relates to the amendments to new clauses 4 and 11. There is nothing to fear. It would simply be writing down, and giving some teeth to, the will expressed by the Prime Minister. It would be a sign of strength and unanimity. As the hon. Member for Edinburgh South said, the important thing is to have the report, but it is important that we have some trust and some lock on each other in respect of the report. I urge the Minister to accept the amendments to new clauses 4 and 11, which are the main ones. If he did, we would all be much happier. Given that the hon. Member for Edinburgh South said, “Let’s get this finished before dark”, I shall conclude my remarks.

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Dr McCrea.

I have a few small points to make about the new clauses and the amendments proposed to them. The impressive thing about the Bill that has emerged from the negotiations between the Government and my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point, whom I congratulate on getting this measure further than ever before, is the proposal that we should have, for the first time, an independent extensive report, properly informed by expert opinion, which will enable objective analysis to be made of these proposed changes, without regard to party political affiliation or indeed to other affiliations that stretch the length and breadth of the four nations that form the United Kingdom. For that reason, the Bill strikes a good compromise, not least as provisions that we will consider in due course would require the measure to return to Parliament and be debated properly by both Houses, in the light of that report, before any trial started.

I therefore hope that the Bill will pass not only in this place, but in the other place, and that it will not be lost purely by virtue of the Session ending. As I understand it, this matter has been debated in the House for any number of years, so it is important that the debate is informed by a decent report that is properly backed by scientific evidence. I represent a rural constituency, so it would be very useful for me to be able to speak to the  farming community in the knowledge that its interests had been taken into account. That applies also to the interests of Lincolnshire, which is not nearly so far north as the constituency represented by the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, but which I would venture to suggest is equally as important. It would be very useful to me, and I suspect to all other hon. Members, to have a proper report so that we can discuss the Bill’s implications with those whom we represent.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 3:15 pm, 7th December 2011

The hon. Gentleman mentioned farming, which is one of the key aspects of the Bill and which should be dealt with in the report. Is he aware that the National Farmers Union of Scotland, which is obviously further north than his constituency, has backed the case for a proper in-depth empirical study to look at issues with farming in Scotland?

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

Yes, I am aware of that. The point I am trying to make is that individual farmers in my constituency want to know about the implications for them. I want to be able to discuss those implications knowledgeably, off the back of a proper report that is properly funded by the Government.

Although I cannot support the changes proposed by the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, I congratulate him on the reasonable way in which he has behaved. I hinted in my intervention on the Minister at why I cannot support proposed amendment (a) to new clause 1. It is not covered by the money resolution, which was passed without a Division. The hon. Gentleman and those who support the amendment are seeking to compel the devolved Parliament of Scotland and the devolved Administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland to spend money at the direction of this Parliament. That is wholly improper constitutionally. As far as I am aware, it has never even been attempted before, let alone passed into law. That is why I do not support the amendments.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

I rise to support the Bill and the amendments. I congratulate the hon. Member for Castle Point on her excellent work, resilience, patience and perseverance in getting this far. She has done an excellent job in bringing people together and getting the Government to commit themselves to the principle of the Bill, and in seeking to set up a report on the matter.

I want to try to give a Welsh dimension, just by speaking. My point is that we should have a balance throughout the United Kingdom, and that no single nation or region should dominate the debate. We should have an academic overview, yes, but there must be a balance between all parts of the United Kingdom. The Minister said to me earlier that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills would be making appointments, but I appeal to him to ensure that the Secretary of State has dialogue with the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, for Scotland and for Wales, so that the academics who are appointed can be brought from different parts of the country to form the independent oversight group. That would deal with some of the points made by the hon. Member for Castle Point: yes, we want the academics, but we could have a wider perspective as well, if different Departments were consulted as to who should be on the group. Rather than just the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills making those decisions, I hope that the Minister can persuade him to support that view.

The amendments show that there is a little fear from the devolved Administrations, but I am not afraid of them having an open and honest debate based on an academic report. I think that they will come to the right conclusions, which is why I am confident that the Welsh Assembly Government can take a view.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

The hon. Gentleman says that he has nothing to fear, so I assume that, as he has nothing to fear from the amendments, he will support them.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

Let me finish my remarks. I am not afraid that the devolved Administrations will have the opportunity to look at a report. Four different reports from four different parts of the UK would be nonsense—there could be four different conclusions. I want the Welsh Assembly Government and the people in Wales who voted them in to have one report that is produced properly and in a timely manner, and that considers all the issues we have mentioned—road safety, benefits to tourism and leisure, and energy savings. Those are the big issues that the people of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England want to consider. Putting the clock forward by one hour would assist the country and bring great benefits, but I am happy to wait for a considered report to be put before the House, so that we can debate it, and the devolved Administrations can have that same opportunity. At the end of the day, the House will vote one way or the other, based on evidence.

Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

I do not wish to detain the Committee for long. I want to respond to a couple of points made by the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar. I voted for the Bill at the Friday sitting, but not because I am particularly convinced by the arguments, as my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point knows. I share some of the concerns expressed by the hon. Gentleman, but, speaking as a northern MP who represents parts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, we are slightly more disadvantaged than he is: he is concerned about the role and input of Scotland, but at least it has a devolved Assembly that can speak for it on such matters. He does not need to worry about the voice of Scotland being heard; I have more concerns about the voice of northern England being heard on this matter.

I am quite happy to have a review, but I want to put on record my concerns about any change. I used to be a school teacher and it concerns me that children would arrive at school in the morning well before sunrise. In my part of the country, it is about 9.20 am on 21 December before the sun is up properly. However, I fully support the Bill for the simple fact that we should have a review and the matter should be looked into. I am not frankly bright enough or informed enough to understand whether there would be a benefit in making this change. On the basis that I am not clever enough to know whether a change would be good for my constituents or not, I am prepared to put these matters into the hands of people who are bright enough and smart enough to advise on them. That is why we should vote down the amendments, stick with the position that the Minister outlined and move the Bill forward to get the review. That way, we can all be much better informed and in a much better position. On the basis that I do not really know very much about this, I will finish there.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Dr McCrea. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point and the dogged and determined way she has brought the Bill as far as she has. She knows that I voted against the Bill, but on that Friday sitting some of my colleagues voted for it. However, I support new clause 1.

I am not in favour of the Bill, but I wish to see the measures go forward as effectively as possible, although I am not convinced that the experiment will be a good idea if it results in a change in daylight hours. That Friday sitting was the first Friday on which I have found myself in the same Division Lobby as the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner), but I do not expect to find myself in there with him again.

I seek reassurance from the Minister about the impact that the changes will have, particularly on some of my constituents. New clause 1 refers to the

“costs and benefits of advancing the time for general purposes”.

Are the potential costs only financial? Are the social benefits that will be experienced, particularly in respect of my constituents, included? As he knows, my constituency includes many people of the Jewish faith and the Muslim faith, whose prayer times are dictated by the rising and setting of the sun. In particular, people of the Jewish faith are concerned because the change would make it impossible for them to recite the morning prayers with a minyan before having to leave for work. In winter, the earliest time for morning prayers is about 7 am. If the proposals are introduced as the Bill suggests, the earliest time that people could hold morning prayers would be 8 o’clock in London and 9 o’clock in other parts of the country, including Scotland.

A number of organisations and industries have also contacted me to express concerns, including the horse-racing industry, which is worried about the impact bringing forward the hours would have on jockeys and trainers, because many meets take place in the afternoon. It feels that some jockeys would be tempted to take their horses on to the road and to the training ground while it was still dark. That could lead to safety problems with road traffic and to health and safety problems for employees. The change would also make it a very long day for those who engage in national hunt racing, who are expected to travel large distances across the country to meetings. The industry feels that this would have a great impact not only on those who work in it, but on the economy.

I have heard a lot today about the evidence the review will produce, but I am not convinced by that evidence. I hear that empirical evidence will be produced, but I have not been told whether it will be qualitative or quantitative. Many of the issues my constituents are concerned about are more qualitative and cannot be measured. The impact on people’s lives, day in, day out, cannot be assessed, and evidence cannot be brought before the Minister to consider.

Given the issues I have outlined, I support the new clause.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point, but the only way we will find these things out is by having a trial period, which is what the Bill is moving towards. Does he support that?

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

As I said, I support new clause 1 for that very reason. I do not, ultimately, support the Bill, but it will happen, whether I like it or not. However, that is democracy, which is what I signed up for. On that basis, I will support new clause 1, provided the Minister can give me some reassurances on the points I have raised.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

I am pleased by the way the debate has moved forward in the spirit of consensus. I congratulate my hon. Friend on the attitude he has brought to the discussion. He is concerned by the arguments he has heard from his constituents, but he is still willing to represent the country and not just his constituents. He is willing to look at the issues and to assess what is going on before making a judgment. In that respect, we must remember our duty in Parliament. Is it for us to make knee-jerk responses or is it for us to collate the information, assess the evidence and make a judgment? The other question, which I posed earlier, is whether we in Parliament should do that or whether this work should be outsourced to Assemblies and other Parliaments. Absolutely everybody should have their say, but we should not forget our responsibility in making a judgment at the very end of the day.

Principally, the Bill is about the argument for considering a time change; it is about how we can best align our lives to maximise daylight hours. At the moment, most people rise after sunrise, and they stay awake long after sunset, which is not a constructive use of what is a free commodity. I therefore congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point on getting much further with her private Member’s Bill than anyone else has with similar proposals. A change was first mooted in 1907 by William Willett, who believed that people were sleeping through a fair bit of the day in the morning and that that was a complete waste.

I have a bit of a worry, however, so perhaps the Minister can put my mind at rest. There has been a genuine desire to change the clocks and a recognition of the value of doing so, but there has also been a worry and a hesitance—I also noticed this under the previous Government, and I am looking at a former Labour Minister as I say this—about stepping forward and making a decision, given the political dimension to our country’s make-up.

I am therefore pleased that the Minister has come here today, although, if he is fair, he will admit that he has done so reluctantly, because, initially, the Government were not too keen, to put it mildly, to see this private Member’s Bill go through. Although the fact that the Minister is sitting next to the Bill’s author suggests there has been a compromise, I want him to look me in the eye—he is not giving me any contact at the moment—[Interruption.] There we go. I want him to look me in the eye and tell us that the Government will generally give the Bill a fair opportunity so that we can test people’s reactions, that it will not be flummoxed and that it will not suddenly fall because of a caveat that has been placed in it.

The real test will be the trial itself. Until we have the trial, we will not know whether what is proposed works, and it must be conducted over three years, not one year. The last trial that we had was successful. The polls afterwards were very much in favour of what had been done. The reason it was overturned in 1971 had to do with the Conservative Government. All the farmers,  who had a genuine reason to say no to it, said, “If you don’t change the clocks, we will deny you Tories your poster sites for the election.” That is why the move was lost.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland) 3:30 pm, 7th December 2011

I have asked this before. The hon. Gentleman seems to have uncovered corruption in the Tory party. How far has he taken that information?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

I think that the 30-year rule applies, so we can now talk about these issues. I am very pleased that we are at the stage of discussing the Bill in Committee. I support the new clauses, but I cannot support the amendments tabled by the Scottish nationalists, because I believe that the decisions that we make here are the most important ones. We should not forget the consultation requirements—that is part and parcel of our everyday job—but we should also remember why we were elected. It was to make decisions not just for our constituencies and our regions, but for the country as a whole. The Bill is about changing the clocks for the entire country, which is a sensible way forward.

Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

Does the hon. Gentleman therefore accept the word, the promise, of the Prime Minister that there should be consensus—everyone agreeing—in all corners of the UK?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Conservative, Bournemouth East

I believe that the consensus should be in Parliament. That is what we were elected to do—make decisions. If every piece of legislation was outsourced to the corners of Britain before coming back, nothing would ever get done. Everything would be in abeyance. We would be like Belgium, without even a Government operating. That is not who we are or what Parliament is about. We need to make decisions at some point and get on with it.

Photo of William McCrea William McCrea Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow DUP Leader of the House of Commons

Before I call the Minister to wind up the debate, I have to make this point. He commented at the beginning of the sitting that the Chair was the only Northern Ireland representative on the Committee. When I sit in the Chair, I have to be completely neutral and not take any part in the debates.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Thank you, Dr McCrea. I hope that you understood that my remarks were meant in the spirit of friendship. The Government and the Prime Minister are very clear that all interests in all parts of the United Kingdom must be fully represented.

We have had a good, informed debate. Hon. Members from both sides of the Committee show a passion for and a detailed knowledge of this subject. I am not sure whether I can do justice to all the questions asked, but let me try to take a few on to reassure colleagues. My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon asked whether the cost-benefit analysis would be qualitative as well as quantitative. The intention is that it will examine all aspects of how people would be affected by the proposal, not just the ones that can be monetised. I hope that that reassures him.

I was asked whether the independent oversight group and the research may consider whether we could change the clocks on different dates, despite the EU directive. I  want to be absolutely clear: the focus of the research and of the report must relate to what is in the Bill, which is that the clocks would change at the times stipulated in the European directive. I do not think that it would be difficult, within the research that is to take place, to consider other issues, but I do not want anyone to misunderstand that. It should be clear that any pilot—any trial—would have to use the dates specified in the Bill. However, researchers being brought together would consider a range of issues, and the one that has been raised could be considered.

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

I am sorry to be a pedant perhaps and to return to the money resolution, but that resolution permits to be paid expenditure incurred in relation to the Bill. The Bill, under new clause 1—if it passes through Committee, and in due course through the two Houses—requires a report to be prepared

“on the potential costs and benefits of advancing the time for general purposes in the United Kingdom by one hour.”

There will be no way in which the independent oversight group or whichever group considers that matter can consider the question of moving the calendar for the change in the clocks, because there will be no way in which that can be funded under the money resolution, which I think stood in the Minister’s name when it came before the House.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

My understanding is that the money resolution concerns changing the clocks by one hour and, related to that, the issue of changing the time throughout the United Kingdom, but not the date on which that can be done. The Bill relates to how the trial period will work and, therefore, I think that—if I am wrong, I shall write to my hon. and learned Friend—in collecting the evidence it will not be impossible to look at the dates.

I am reminded by my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point that the money resolution applied to the old version of the Bill that passed on Second Reading, which including consideration of different dates. The logic is, therefore, that I am right that the money resolution allows the research to look at other dates.

I want to reassure my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham, and I do not want to mislead other members of the Committee, that that will not be the main focus of the research and the report. The main focus must be to inform Parliament about the decision that it will take on whether a trial should go ahead on the dates specified in the Bill. The point is that while that research is being done, no doubt lots of other information will be collected, and it surely makes sense to keep that information on the record.

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

It is, of course, right that the money resolution was passed when the original Bill was before the House, but the money resolution clearly states that it is

“for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Daylight Saving Bill”,

and the resulting Act will be not the Bill as it stood when the money resolution was passed, but—assuming the Government have their way on the amendments—the Bill as amended.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

My hon. and learned Friend makes an interesting point. Of course, if that point emerged through the report on advancing time by one hour, we could look at it separately and in more detail. If that has to be done separately, it can be done separately and outwith the money resolution. I hope that reassures him.

Several other issues were raised during the debate, including concerns about the make-up of the independent oversight group. I reiterate the point, which I tried to make earlier, that it is critical that the members of that group have academic expertise in research methodology. When the House receives the report, it needs to be reassured that the data, evidence and findings have been assessed by Departments in the most robust way. We are not trying to give that group a representative nature; it is the House, and therefore the Government, that represents all parts of the United Kingdom.

We have agreed the amendments with my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point so as to ensure that all the devolved Administrations have a role in the process. I hope, therefore, that hon. Members feel that we have the right balance on representation and agree that the role of the independent oversight group must be protected to provide reassurance to the House when the report is produced.

I hope I have dealt with colleagues’ concerns and that they will therefore accept the Government proposals, but not, I fear, the other amendments in the group.

Question put and negatived.

Clause 1 accordingly disagreed to.

Clause 2 disagreed to.