Holiday company Thomson has thrown its weight behind a campaign to shift the UK’s clocks forward an hour throughout the year as new research shows more daylight during the traditionally dark winter months would make us a more sociable, happier and even a wealthier nation.
The survey of nearly 1,000 people nationwide for Thomson Holidays reveals that three-quarters (72%) would go out more in winter if they had more sunlight in the afternoon – adding additional impetus to the debate which has this year embraced environmentalists, charities, farmers and even the Prime Minister, who has promised to review the UK’s biannual clock change.
The idea of darker mornings – one of the key arguments put forward by those favouring the status quo – didn’t concern most of those questioned for the Thomson Holidays survey. Only a fifth (21%) said they would prefer to have lighter mornings, with the sun continuing to set earlier than 4pm in the depths of winter.
The survey also indicated that more light during the afternoon would boost spending, with more than 76% of respondents saying they spent more money socialising and entertaining in sunnier months than they did in the winter. This is supported by research showing that more winter daylight could boost the economy by £2.5 to £ 3.5 billion, potentially creating between 60,000 and 80,000 new jobs, while also saving electricity and consequently CO2 emissions.
In addition, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates it could save 80 deaths and more than 200 serious injuries a year. It is also predicted that there would be less crime (?) and the quality of life for older people could well be improved.
What’s more, 94% of those questioned for the Thomson survey said that the weather, and particularly sunshine, affects their mood. And the nation’s craving for winter daylight also influences people’s choice of holiday, with the vast majority (87%) saying that sunshine was the key factor when choosing a winter sun holiday, and 86% saying that they just want to lie in the sunshine if they go on an overseas winter holiday. 79% of those who have taken a winter holiday in the last 5 years said it significantly improved their mood and lifted their spirits.
Liz Bartlett from Thomson Holidays said: “Our survey revealed a clear link between lighter days, socialising and spending. People find the lack of daylight in winter very depressing, making them more likely to stay at home and therefore spend less.
“The fact that people just want to flop in the sun on a winter holiday is a clear indication of the demand for sunlight in winter. It’s time to review the clock change, and bring a little more light into the British public’s lives.”
The Thomson survey was undertaken to establish the extent of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and its effects on people’s eating, exercising and lifestyle habits, and choice of winter sun holidays.