§ 17. Mr. Rankin
asked the Minister of Power what representations were made to him by the Scottish Gas Consultative Council in August last, about helping them to alleviate the immediate burden of an increase in the price of gas; and what reply he made.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power (Mr. J. C. George)
The Council conveyed to my right hon. Friend's predecessor its opinion:that the interest charges on exceptional projects should, during construction, be capitalised,… and that … the Government should afford financial assistance to avoid increases in the price of gas".It was advised that the Minister did not consider that either measure would be justified.
§ Mr. Rankin
Can the hon. Gentleman give me any reason why the first of the two suggestions made by the Council did not receive a little more favourable consideration than an abrupt dismissal? Were any reasons given to the Council? Apart from that, does he now realise that the way in which this increase in the price of gas has been brought about has received, and merited, widespread criticism throughout Scotland? Does he appreciate that it would be worth while looking into the public relations side of the Scottish Gas Consultative Council?
§ Mr. George
As to the first part of the supplementary question, consideration was given, and always will be given, to any representation made by a consultative council, but the Scottish Gas Board, as far as I am aware, has not asked for 612 either form of assistance suggested and, indeed, legislation would probably be necessary to effect either of them.