HC Deb 26 June 1956 vol 555 c263
48. Mr. Palmer

asked the Prime Minister if he has taken note of the decision of the electricity supply industry to refrain from raising prices in spite of increased coal charges; and whether, in his conversations with the representatives of private enterprise concerns using coal, he will invite them to follow the example of this nationalised undertaking.

The Prime Minister

I have already welcomed the decision referred to by the hon. Member and also the decision of the National Coal Board. My right hon. Friends and I have already pointed out to representatives both of industry and of labour the great importance attached by the Government to achieving stability in costs and prices.

Mr. Palmer

May I put two points to the Prime Minister on this matter? In the first place, is he aware that electricity was already one of the cheapest things available in this country compared with pre-war, and that this decision may possibly risk the financial stability of the industry? Secondly, is it fair that any nationalised industry should have commercial decisions imposed on it by Ministerial influence while free enterprise industries are, apparently, to be free of control?

The Prime Minister

I do not think this does an injustice to anyone. There are other Questions on the Order Paper about the position of the electricity boards. They have the necessary finances to enable them to take action, and they have decided to take it. I think we should welcome it.