HC Deb 14 March 1938 vol 333 cc21-2
44 and 52. Sir J. Mellor

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will indicate the circumstances which prevented inquiries being made until after 8th March, 1938, into the most effective way of assisting water supply and dock and harbour authorities, respectively, to continue functioning in war time;

(2) whether he will identify the undertakings that he has consulted with regard to the most effective way of assisting electricity, gas, and railway undertakings, respectively, to continue functioning in war time; and how long consultations have been in progress in each case?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

Inquiries into the highly technical problems involved were taken up with the appropriate Departments shortly after my right hon. Friend's announcement of 23rd December. As soon as those inquiries had proceeded far enough to make discussion practicable, the representatives of the industries were taken into informal consultation. My hon. Friend will realise that the measures to be adopted will differ according to the type of utility. On electricity, the Electricity Commission have consulted a number of large undertakings in important industrial areas. Consultation with the railways has proceeded through a Technical Committee appointed by the railway management. In the case of gas, consultation has taken place with representatives of three of the largest producers. In the case of water and docks, discussions have been held with the engineers of the Metropolitan Water Board, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and the Port of London Authority respectively. As a result of the help afforded to the Department by these conversations, my right hon. Friend intends shortly to consult the representative bodies in each of the public utilities.

Colonel Nathan

Can the Under-Secretary say when the Government will be able to introduce legislation as promised dealing with public utility companies?

Mr. Lloyd

Not without notice.