1. Mr. Edward M. Taylor
asked the Minister of Power to what extent the price of gas provided to domestic consumers by the Scottish Gas Board differs from the average price charged by other boards; and by what percentage the Scottish charges to domestic consumers exceed the lowest figure charged by another board.
§ Mr. Marsh
The average revenue per therm from domestic sales in Scotland in 1964-65, the latest year for which figures are available, was 29.70d. This compared with figures ranging from 22.59d. to 31.96d. per therm in other areas, and a national average of 26.36d. a therm. Since then there have been tariff changes in Scotland and some other areas, and it is not possible to provide up-to-date comparisons.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that there has just been a 13 per cent. increase in the Scottish prices? Is he suggesting that these price increases were approved and applied before he made comparisons between Scotland and other areas? Has not the differential now become so serious that consideration should be given to making an equal charge in different parts of the country? Does the Minister say that he has not got the figures applying to the 13 per cent?
§ Mr. Marsh
The rationalisation of tariffs is an entirely different subject, and a big subject. As to the figures at the latest date available, I have given them to the hon. Gentleman. They are in the Answer. As to the 13 per cent. increase in prices, one cannot give an answer until one has been able to establish to what extent the price change alters the pattern of consumption.