HC Deb 30 November 1959 vol 614 cc842-3
1. Mr. Bullard

asked the Minister of Power, in view of the need to speed the provision of electricity to those rural houses which are still without a supply, if he will authorise area boards to undertake further additional work on rural electrification.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Wood)

As I told the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) last week, the possibility of increasing the present high rate of area boards' capital expenditure on rural electrification is governed by their revenue position rather than their capital allocations.

Mr. Bullard

Despite the good progress that has been made in many areas with rural electrification, will my right hon. Friend again have consultations with the area boards to see whether this matter can be speeded up? It is quite a time now since the rural electrification plans were drawn up and electricity has become much more important in daily life since then. Will my right hon. Friend see whether some of these really bad areas, which are there by chance of district, can be given some better hope than at present?

Mr. Wood

I look forward to further talks with the Eastern Electricity Board, but I notice that the connections which the board estimate will be made in my hon. Friend's area by 1963 include 93 per cent. of all the farms there and 96 per cent. of other rural premises.

Mr. Wilkins

May I ask the Minister whether, if he responds to the request of his hon. Friend to speed up rural electrification, at considerable cost, he will take steps to ensure that his hon. Friends behind him will then not malign this highly successful nationalised industry?

Mr. Wood

I am sure that my hon. Friends will be most helpful, as they always are.

Mr. G. Brown

In view of this remarkably great success in bringing rural electrification forward at this quick pace, will the right hon. Gentleman pay a tribute to the fact that this could not have happened without the nationalisation of the industry?

Mr. Wood

My hon. Friend spoke about this very problem last week, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman will probably read his remarks.