Government backs clocks change proposal

By Jennifer Lipman, October 28, 2011

The British government is considering moving the country to European time zones, which would mean Shabbat would end after midnight during the summer in Scotland.

The move would mean that the UK's clocks move forward by an hour for a three-year trial period - and so make dawn and dusk an hour later.

The Government opposed the proposal when it came up in February following a Private Member's Bill by Conservative MP Rebecca Harris. But they have backed it now on the condition that there will be consultation with devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Business Minister Ed Davey said they would not rush into the decision. "This is an issue which affects everyone across the country," he said. "If there is strong evidence to support this then we should at least see what the possible benefits are."

The proposal is supported by road safety groups, who argue that the extra hour of daylight would cut accident rates.

It would, however, make it more difficult for Orthodox Jews to pray in a morning minyan before work in winter, as prayers have to be said in the first quarter of the day after sunrise.

With the time of sunset pushed an hour forwards, the start of the Passover seder would be delayed while women would be unable to go the mikveh until as late as 1am in the height of the summer.

When the days are at their longest, Jews in Glasgow could be making havdalah as late as quarter to one in the morning.

When Ms Harris first raised the issue, the Board of Deputies cautioned that a time change could "force many Jews to end generations of religious practice".

Last updated: 12:54pm, October 28 2011