§ MR. BYNG
said, he rose to move for a Select Committee to inquire and report upon the existing arrangements for the supply of gas to the Metropolis. About three weeks or a fortnight ago he accompanied a deputation to the Home Office from the inhabitants of many parishes in London, who represented that they were subject to what they considered a monopoly on the part of some of the gas companies. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, after courteously hearing the statements of the deputation, expressed his belief that it had made out a prima facie case. Subsequently the Home Secretary received a deputation from the metropolitan gas companies, by whom, as he understood, no objection was made to the appointment of a Committee, provided it was a fair one. The consumers complained that the gas companies had divided the metropolis among themselves into districts in such a way as to make a complete monopoly. They complained also of the hardship of incoming tenants being refused a supply of gas, unless they paid arrears which might have been left by previous occupants; likewise of the quality of the gas, and, generally speaking, of being totally at the mercy of the gas companies in regard to the supply of that article. On these grounds he moved the appointment of a Committee.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, a numerous deputation from the parishes referred to by the hon. Member had waited on him and made such statements as led him to believe they had a prima faciecase of complaint against the gas companies of the metropolis. A deputation from the gas companies also waited on him and stated their case very fairly, expressing their perfect willingness to meet any inquire that might be instituted before a Committee. In these circumstances he thought nothing could be fairer than to appoint a Committee, and he assured the deputation that no effort would be wanting on his part to insure a satisfactory investigation.
MR. F. C. RUSSELL
, on the part of gas companies, stated that they cordially assented to the appointment of a Committee.
Motion agreed to;—Select Committee appointed—
To inquire into and report as to the existing arrangements for the supply of gas to the Metropolis.