HC Deb 16 February 1959 vol 600 cc4-5
11. Mr. Palmer

asked the Paymaster-General what period of supply the £6,002,600 stock of petroleum products mentioned in the Civil Supplementary Estimates is expected to cover.

Sir I. Horobin

This oil is an addition to the reserves which have long been held by the Government for use in an emergency. The period they cover will depend on the conditions obtaining at any time they may have to be called upon.

Mr. Palmer

Is it not a fact that this is bound to have a limited life, and, in these circumstances, does it not emphasise the folly of placing undue dependence on imported fuel?

Sir I. Horobin

I do not think that the one follows from the other at all. It may well be wise to use oil, and, if it is wise to use oil, it may be wise to have some of it in reserve.

Sir G. Nicholson

Has this money already been spent?

Sir I. Horobin

The Estimates have just been presented to Parliament. It has not yet all been spent, naturally.

15. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Paymaster-General whether he will make a statement concerning contract arrangements for storage of the petroleum products reserves provided for in the Civil Supplementary Estimates of his Department.

Sir I. Horobin

The products in question will be stored in existing Government installations, managed by agent companies on a fee basis.

Mr. Nabarro

Would my hon. Friend make it abundantly clear that this is a strategic reserve and that it is not in any way, as has been suggested from the other side of the House, a subsidy to the oil companies?

Sir I. Horobin

Quite. We want all the oil we can pay for for storing in this country.