By Claire West
London's economy could be boosted if the clocks weren't turned back this weekend, a new study published by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has found. The GLA Economics report says that if the UK set its clocks in line with Central European Time, London could see significant economic benefits accruing from the extra hour of daylight gained at the end of the day during the winter months.
The study suggests that tourism alone could be boosted by between £240 million and £720 million a year, with tourist attractions able to stay open later in the day. It also reveals that in a recent survey by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, over a third of its members who responded believed that changing to Central European Time would benefit business.
Over 90 per cent of the companies supporting a change thought that alignment would improve trading and working between European customers and suppliers. The study suggests the extra hour would improve communication with the rest of Europe, providing an extra 40 per cent of business time overlap, and also enable London workers to attend morning meetings in Europe without needing to stay overnight. It would also provide more working time in the morning for trading with Asian markets and these extra hours of business would particularly benefit London’s financial sector which accounts for 15 per cent of the capital’s economy.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
“It’s barmy that a great trading city and major global financial centre like London is so out of kilter with the rest of Europe. We do immense amounts of trade with our partners across the Channel and all the evidence shows we have little to lose and much to gain by setting our clocks in line with Paris, Frankfurt and other big cities.
“It will also greatly improve the quality of life for Londoners wasting less daylight while they are sleeping and giving them more options for leisure and play when the working day is over.”
Other benefits would include savings to energy benefiting the environment, improved health through extra time for leisure and exercise activity and better road safety.