HC Deb 11 June 1953 vol 516 cc448-9
43. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Minister of Agriculture what percentage of the farms in each of the North Wales districts of the Merseyside and North Wales electricity area are supplied with electricity.

Sir T. Dugdale

I regret the information is not available. The sub-areas of the Merseyside and North Wales electricity area, of which North Wales forms part, are not confined to North Wales. I am informed by the area board that on 31st March last, 4,963 holdings in North Wales were connected out of a total of 25,248. This is nearly 20 per cent.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister not agree that that percentage is very low and that it is difficult for him, in these circumstances, to expect food production to increase? Will he not consider increasing the capital grant for rural electrification?

Sir T. Dugdale

I accept that the percentage in this area is lower than over England and Wales as a whole. I am in close contact with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power on this matter, and we are trying to find ways and means of increasing and speeding up the supply of electricity. It must be remembered, however, that before farms can be connected with electricity it is necessary that the backbone and ribs of the electrical distribution system should first be created.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Can the Minister say how many connections were made last year or the year before?

Sir T. Dugdale

Not without notice. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put that question down.