HC Deb 21 February 1940 vol 357 cc1327-8
36. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to secure the necessary statutory powers to enable his Department to compel undertakers to supply electricity to the rural areas where a supply would enable such areas to obtain an increased output from their farms with a view to securing the maximum production?

The Minister of Transport (Captain Wallace)

Where supplies of electricity are required in rural areas for work of national importance such as increasing agricultural production and can be provided on a reasonably economic basis, I have no reason to suppose that the electricity undertakers would not be prepared to afford them.

Mr. De la Bère

Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman really mean to tell the House that he is going to allow the Shropshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire Electricity Power Company to treat both him and the Electricity Commissioners with contempt? Is he aware of the inquiry in 1937 in connection with Evesham; and is he aware that this group of Edmondson undertakings have done nothing but thwart every single endeavour to assist agriculture in the areas over which they have control? Does he not think this is an absolute scandal which ought to be ended?

Captain Wallace

I can assure my hon. Friend that the Commissioners would be prepared to press the undertakers if necessary, in each case where it is definitely shown that supplies were needed for increasing agricultural production and could be afforded on a reasonably economic basis.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the Minister aware that evidence has been provided that the Electricity Commissioners have not done so? Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment of the House.

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