HC Deb 25 June 1953 vol 516 cc2089-91
34. Mr. Slater

asked the Minister of Agriculture what percentage of farms in the Sedgefield rural area, the Stockton rural area and the Darlington rural area, are supplied with electricity from the North Eastern Electricity Board; and how this compares with the rest of the north-east farming areas.

Sir T. Dugdale

I regret that precise details are not available. The three rural districts form part of the Tees sub-area of the North Eastern Electricity Board's area and the number of farms connected to the mains at 31st March last in the sub-area was 909, or approximately 22 per cent. This compares with a general percentage of 26.9 per cent throughout the whole area of the Board.

Mr. Slater

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that quite a number of these farms within the areas mentioned are not serviced at the moment with electricity and that one of the reasons why they are not serviced with electricity is because of the high capital cost of tenders which are submitted to them from the electricity board? Is there not something which can be done to ease the position relative to laying on electricity in these farms?

Sir T. Dugdale

I am very anxious that there should be a speeding up in the supply of electricity to these areas. I do not think I can do better than ask the hon. Member to read the speech of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power last Friday.

Mr. Peart

When looking at this question of electricity for farms, will the right hon. Gentleman consider some sort of assistance being given on the lines of the Hill Farming Act and perhaps make representations to the Minister of Fuel and Power?

Sir T. Dugdale

That is an entirely different question from the one on the Order Paper.

38. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Agriculture what percentage of farms in the area of the South Wales Electricity Board are supplied with electricity; and how this compares with other areas.

Sir T. Dugdale

On 31st March, 1953, approximately 174 per cent. of the farms in the area of the South Wales Area Electricity Board were connected to the public electricity supply, compared with a percentage in England and Wales of 41.6 per cent. With permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the percentages of farm connections in each area board's district, with the exception of London.

Mr. Gower

Will the Minister agree that this figure is terribly low, not only in comparison with the rest of the country, but as a matter of fact? Will he make the strongest representations to the Minister of Fuel and Power to see if something can be done in the interests of food production in this year?

Sir T. Dugdale

I do agree that it is exceptionally low, but, in fairness to the South Wales Board, I must inform the House that it is necessary to establish the backbone and ribs of this distribution system first, and they were not established when I took over.

Mr. G. Thomas

Was it not quite impossible to get these farms to accept electricity in the years before the war, but now here is a queue and capital equipment is not readily available?

Following is the table:

South Eastern 59.8
Southern 69.4
South Western 33.7
Eastern 48.2
East Midland 47.6
Midlands 42.5
South Wales 17.4
Merseyside and North Wales 25.2
Yorkshire 43.4
North Eastern 26.9
North Western 61.5

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