HC Deb 27 April 1938 vol 335 cc116-7
25. Sir Frank Sanderson

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that in some parts of the country farmers are being asked to contribute sums of £800 and over towards the capital expenditure required for connecting up electrical mains to their farms, even in cases where the farms are close to main roads: and, in view of the expressed policy of the Government to encourage all branches of farming and the importance to the industry of cheap electrical power, will he state what steps he is prepared to take to ensure to farmers adequate supplies of electrical energy at economic prices and to prevent these demands for capital contributions being made?

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Burgin)

The question of the further extension of supplies in rural areas is being carefully considered in connection with the Government proposals for the reorganisation of distribution, but if in the meantime my hon. Friend will furnish me with information as to any particular cases he may have in mind, I shall be pleased to arrange for the circumstances to be investigated. I am not prepared to agree that in no case should capital contributions be required.

Sir F. Sanderson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in East Sussex demands for £800 are being made for capital expenditure to provide power to farms which run alongside the main roads, and does he not consider that the time has arrived when farmers should expect to be able to secure adequate supplies of electricity at reasonable prices?

Mr. Burgin

I should be grateful to the hon. Member if he would be good enough to give me details of the cases he has in mind. That is precisely what I intended to convey by my answer.

Mr. De la Bere

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the public inquiry in the Vale of Evesham in July, 1937? Is he aware, also, that nothing has happened as a result of it and that the exploitation of the farmers by the electricity companies is a national scandal?