HC Deb 24 May 1962 vol 660 cc650-1
9. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reply he has sent to the letter, dated 29th March, sent him by the British Gas Staff Association on the composition of the National Economic Development Council.

Mr. Brooke

If my hon. Friend is referring to a letter written by Sir Ronald Gould on behalf of the Conference of Professional and Public Service Organisations, on which the British Gas Staff Association is represented, I would refer her to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Rye (Mr. Godman Irvine) on 10th April.

Dame Irene Ward

I was not referring to that letter. Has my right hon. Friend noticed that the price of electricity has gone up? Is it not about time that "Neddy" had in it some representatives from ordinary consumers and professional associations? Is my right hon. Friend aware that I do not think that "Neddy" is fully representative and that I am not at all happy about employers and trade unionists agreeing to an increase in prices to the detriment of the consumer? When is the consumer to get a run for his money?

Mr. Brooke

I cannot hold out to my hon. Friend any hope that the Chancellor will be prepared to revise the composition of the National Economic Development Council, but of course any organisation which has not got someone of its own on that Council is perfectly at liberty to write either to the Council or to the Chancellor and put forward its views.

Mr. Callaghan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is within his power to withdraw the instruction to the electricity boards to increase their prices in order that they should finance new capital development out of the consumer? Would that not be a very good way of helping to reduce the cost of living?

Mr. Brooke

I find these questions about electricity tariffs a very long way from the Question about the British Gas Staff Association.