HC Deb 31 July 1946 vol 426 cc1127-9

1.0 a.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power (Mr. Gaitskell)

I beg to move, That the Central Electricity Board (Increase of Borrowing Powers) Special Order, 1946, dated 9th July, 1946, made by the Electricity Commissioners and confirmed by the Minister of Fuel and Power under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1919, a copy of which Order was presented on 10th July, be approved. The Electricity Supply Act, 1926, empowered the Central Electricity Board to borrow up to a maximum of £33,500,000. But the Act also provided that that maximum could be increased by special Orders made by the Electricity Commissioners, confirmed by the Minister of Fuel and Power, originally the Minister of Transport, and with Parliamentary approval. In fact, special Orders of this kind were made in 1930, 1933 and 1941, bringing the total amount which the Board could borrow up to £70 million. This special Order, which I am asking the House to approve, raises that figure to £100 million. It is necessary because the Electricity Commissioners have already sanctioned the borrowing of sums amount- ing to £69,875,000. The increased borrowing is needed for certain extensions of the grid system which will become necessary, and also includes the acquisition of the war grid reinforcement lines and some extension of generating stations. No objection has been lodged against the Order, either with the Commissioners or the Minister, and I therefore ask the House to approve it.