Happy 2011! There’s plenty of time-changing action on the cards for this year – hopefully you’re looking forward to it as much as we are.
The Daylight Saving Bill is waiting to hit committee stage (where MPs thrash out the precise wording), but in the meantime there’s plenty we can do to move things along on other fronts. Here’s the first…
The tourism minister John Penrose is writing a paper outlining what the government should do to promote and regulate the industry.
We know that lighter evenings would give a massive boost to UK leisure and tourism, bringing an extra £3bn into the economy and creating around 80,000 much-needed new jobs. If Penrose’s report recognises this, it could help persuade his fellow ministers to back the change.
You know the drill by now – let’s tell John Penrose that backing lighter evenings is one of the best things the government can do to support tourism and create jobs in this country.
Send an email using the example text at the bottom of this message, or better still, write your own.
“Lighter evenings would mean an extra million pounds in turnover for my business, and at a guess, 50 or 70 extra jobs in year one”
- Philip Miller
Owner, Southend Fun Park
ITV Tonight, 20 January 2011
It’ll be a while until the Daylight Saving Bill faces the next big vote in parliament, and when the next vote comes around we need to be ready to win. That’s why the next few months are all about getting cabinet heavyweights on our side with carefully timed pressure. Check out the latest blog on lighterlater.org to see how things will move forward from here.
Meanwhile, lighter evenings are still very much on the cultural radar. Just last week, ITV ran a half-hour programme on the issue, in which they interviewed Southend resort manager Philip Miller. As the presenter put it, “for Philip, more daylight means more jobs” – Let’s make sure John Penrose knows it.
We’ve seen how powerful our letters can be – it was our Daylight Saving Bill that passed the second reading where eight others had failed before. Take some inspiration from the example text below, then get writing!
Edit and send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
(CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Subject: FAO John Penrose: Lighter evenings – good for tourism
I recently heard that you are writing a tourism strategy for the government, and I wanted to draw your attention to the ways in which advancing the clocks could bring enormous benefits to the industry. I believe that time reform represents a tremendous opportunity for British tourism and the economy as a whole.
A 2008 paper by the Policy Studies Institute concludes that advancing the clocks by one hour throughout the year would boost the UK economy to the tune of £3bn and create around 80,000 jobs, many of them in leisure and tourism. These findings have prompted organisations like Business Enterprise Scotland and the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions to join the 65-strong Lighter Later coalition backing the Daylight Saving Bill, which just passed its second reading in the Commons. The bill has also received editorial backing from the Sun, the Express, the Observer, the Guardian and the Independent.
The government is understandably concerned about the impact such a change could have in Scotland, but the evidence suggests that Scots actually stand to benefit significantly. Tourism accounts for around 10% of Scotland’s GDP, and additional PSI research found that around 7,000 of the new jobs would be created north of the border.
It’s also worth pointing out that the benefits don’t end with tourism. Lighter evenings mean fewer traffic accidents (including 20 lives saved on Scottish roads), lower electricity bills and carbon emissions, and a healthier, more active population.
Opinion polls now show the clock change commanding a majority of public support in both England and Scotland, but the government has been inclined to give the Scottish Executive a veto. This unusual suggestion would likely kill the bill, which would be better discussed as one country at a national level where everyone’s voice can be heard.
I believe that advancing the clocks is one of the best things the government can do to promote tourism, and an overwhelmingly positive thing for the country as a whole. If an examination of the evidence leads you to share this view, I urge you to include it in your final recommendations and actively seek to persuade your cabinet colleagues to join you in support of the move.
I would be grateful if you could reply to let me know your view on the matter, and how you intend to proceed.