HC Deb 25 November 1959 vol 614 cc461-2

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

8.3 p.m.

Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)

Before the Committee parts with the Clause, I would like to ask the Minister two questions. First, can he help us about the formation of the new Board? At the moment, there are four full-time members and six part-time members. Have the Government decided how many full-time members they will allow the Authority in future? The right hon. Gentleman said that the Government would try to maintain the same proportions, but it would help if the right hon. Gentleman could clarify the position and tell us how many full-time members will be required. From that we can work out what the reorganised Board will be like.

Secondly, because of the charges constantly levelled against the Authority about future nuclear power costs, and especially those being bandied about between the Central Electricity Generating Board, the National Coal Board, and members of the Consortium, would the right hon. Gentleman consider the suggestion that one of the members of the Board should in future be responsible for cost evaluation? That member could keep the public and the industry generally informed.

The Minister of Education (Sir David Eccles)

At present, they are four full time members. As I think I mentioned on Second Reading, it is my noble Friend's intention to appoint Sir Leonard Owen to the Board. That will make five full-time members. We have six part-time members and I think for the time being my noble Friend is considering whether he should add any more. The purpose of asking for a total membership of 15 in Clause 1 is to give my noble Friend some elbow room against future developments.

I will pass the hon. Gentleman's second suggestion to my noble Friend. As a matter of company structure I think that boards are homogeneous and have a combined responsibility. It might be a little difficult to have one member of the Board having a specific function in regard to the public. I should have thought that that was more the Chairman's responsibility, but I will mention what the hon. Gentleman has said to my noble Friend.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 2 to 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third tune and passed.