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Holiday Resorts (Illumination)

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he has any statement to make concerning illuminations for holiday resorts over the Easter holidays.

Although the supplies of coal have greatly improved, it is still necessary to make every practicable economy in its use, in order that we may start the building of stocks during the summer months from as high a level as possible. For that reason, I propose that the order which prohibits the lighting of shops and advertisements shall continue in force until 15th April, when Summer time comes in.

Illuminations provided by the local authorities of holiday resorts, however, consume much less coal. After consultation with the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling), and with my hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. E. Evans), and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Squadron Leader Kinghorn), and others, I have come to the conclusion that it would be reasonable and right for the local authorities of holiday resorts to switch on their illuminations for three hours each evening on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of this Easter holiday. I hope that the hon. Members concerned, and the House in general, will consider that this is an acceptable plan.

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for this partial and slight concession, which, at least, will make people in holiday resorts realise what it was like in the good old days, may I ask if he will bear in mind that it is now 12 o'clock? How are the town clerks of the corporations concerned to get to know about this concession? They will have to get everything ready today. As, tomorrow, there are no newspapers, will he take steps, through the B.B.C. or in some other way, to make sure that holiday visitors know about it?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Members who are on the Holiday Resorts Committee, who put this point to him, are very grateful for the sympathetic manner in which he has received it?

Would the Minister give consideration to this point? In a scheme of corporation illuminations very often there are incorporated illuminations which are provided and paid for by private persons. These are included in the corporation's scheme, although the electricity charges are paid by the persons concerned. Will the right hon. Gentleman also allow these schemes of lighting to be restored for a temporary period in order that the whole scheme of illuminations may not be disjointed?

I will consider that. It may involve special licences which it would be very difficult to prepare in time; I am not sure.

If the Easter holiday took place about three weeks later, would not the shop windows be lit up for several minutes longer, free of charge, by Divine Providence?