HC Deb 23 April 1964 vol 693 cc1495-6
26. Mr. Lawson

asked the Minister of Power if he will state the percentage increase since 1951 in the price of coal, oil, electricity, gas and steel, respectively.

Mr. Erroll

In the most recent 12 year period for which figures are available the average pithead proceeds per ton of coal have increased by about 92 per cent.; the published price of minimum bulk load of medium fuel oil, by about 43 per cent.; the published price of minimum bulk load of domestic paraffin (premier grade) by about 38 per cent.; the average revenue per unit of electricity by about 33 per cent.; the average revenue per them of gas, by about 74 per cent.; and the published wholesale price index of iron and steel by about 67 per cent.

Mr. Lawson

Is it not remarkable how well the electricity industry has done in these circumstances? Is it not an example to the electricity industries in virtually all the countries of the world? Will the Minister, who is responsible or answerable to this House for the electricity industry, now rise and tell us how well this nationalised industry has done?

Mr. Erroll

I am glad to rise and say how well British technicians and engineers, particularly, in the manufacturing industries have reduced the costs of generation by designing modern large-scale plant which was not dreamt of 10 years ago.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my recollection correct that one of the ideas of nationalisation was to reduce costs to the consumer? What has happened to this idea?

Mr. Erroll

If my hon. Friend will study the figures, she will see that costs have risen a good deal; but there is some variation.