HC Deb 15 February 1954 vol 523 cc1630-2
17. Mr. Godber

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if lie will make a statement on the general progress of rural electrification.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Since the Government's approval of an increase in the capital to be used for rural electrification and my consultations with the chairmen of the boards, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of farms connected to the electric supply system. As compared with the year before, the number rose during the last six months of 1953 by 32 per cent. and in the last quarter of the year the number was 4,465, which was 41 percent. higher than the corresponding figure for 1952, and a record achievement. Also some 60,000 other rural premises have been connected during the year. This achievement shows how much the boards have increased the pace of this work, and they are now making preparations to carry electricity to the more remote areas.

Mr. Godber

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the answer he has given will give the greatest satisfaction throughout the whole rural community who realise that this Government is really getting on with the job? May I ask him to continue the good work for the benefit of those who are still waiting with greater impatience, and will he keep in the closest consultation with the British Electricity Authority, particularly bearing in mind the recommendations of the recent committee that was set up to look into this matter?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Wilkins

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the British Electricity Authority has yet formulated its plans for assisting certain of the regions in their capital expenditure for rural electrification, after the representations made recently to the British Electricity Authority by the south-western area, for example, where very great capital expenditure problems exist? Has the British Electricity Authority been told what it should do to assist?

Mr. Lloyd

The great increase in the number of connections to farms, which is mentioned in my answer, is due to the general progress of the work. In my last sentence I said that the boards are now making preparations to carry electricity to the more remote areas. They are formulating that policy at the present time.