HC Deb 06 April 1965 vol 710 cc224-5
13. Mr. Allason

asked the Minister of Power what estimate he made, when agreeing to the new electricity charge increases in the eastern electricity area, of the resulting increase in production costs of industry.

Mr. John Morris

It is not practicable to make an estimate for a particular area, but for most industries the increase in production costs is likely to be very small.

Mr. Allason

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that increases in costs of electricity are up to 7 per cent.? As the Government urge private industry to absorb these increases itself, will they not urge the electricity industry also to absorb its own price increases?

Mr. Morris

The electricity industry has certainly done what it can to absorb its increased costs. This matter must be kept in proper perspective. If the Eastern Electricity Board's area were typical of the United Kingdom, the tariff increase would raise industrial costs by only one-tenth of 1 per cent.

Mr. Wilkins

Would not the Minister agree that the eastern and south-western electricity areas are the most difficult in the country to operate? Does he not consider that the time has come when we should have a standardised tariff throughout the country, which we were talking about in this House ten years ago?

Mr. Morris

Conditions vary from area to area. On the question of standardised tariffs, perhaps the hon. Member will put down a Question.