HC Deb 28 February 1952 vol 496 cc1440-1
26. Mr. Edwin Leather

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has any statement to make on the arrangements for spreading the industrial electricity load.

Sir W. Monckton

Yes, Sir. I am glad to be able to inform the House that excellent results have been achieved in industrial load spreading this winter; power cuts have been to a large extent avoided.

The Electricity Sub-Committee has been reviewing the position, and has recommended that regional boards for industry should have discretion to relax load spreading arrangements, in the light of regional circumstances, as from 1st March next. This recommendation has been accepted by the Government and the regional boards have been so informed. The need remains for full use of private generating plant and for economy during peak hours by all classes of consumer.

I should like to take this opportunity of paying tribute to all concerned for the co-operation that has made this relaxation possible.

Mr. Leather

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that that statement will be heartily welcomed by workers and managements throughout industry?

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

While endorsing what the Minister has said about the admirable co-operation by everyone this year, may I press on the Minister that load-spreading in the winter months ought to remain a national policy probably for many years to come? Will he bear that in mind when considering this winter's results?

Sir W. Monckton

I will bear in mind what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Gerald Nabarro

Will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that, in principle, prevention is always better than cure and that this problem will never be overcome until there is a realistic reform of the Electricity Authority's tariffs.

Mr. Shinwell

Could not that motto have been applied at the General Election?

Mr. Osborne

On a point of order. Could I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether the Minister of Labour could now answer Question No. 6? He referred to it in his reply to Question No. 10. He said he was going to make a statement in reply to Question No. 6. It is a Question which is of considerable importance to hon. Members on both sides of the House who represent agricultural constituencies.

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said he would answer this with Question No. 22. I called both hon. Members whose names are attached to those Questions and I cannot go back now.