HC Deb 01 December 1966 vol 737 cc614-5
Q3. Mr. Webster

asked the Prime Minister if he proposes to continue the existence of the winter emergency committee for another year.

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answers I gave to Questions by the hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Patrick Jenkin), on 4th August and my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) on 3rd November.—[Vol. 733, c. 678: Vol. 735, c. 166.]

Mr. Webster

Can the Prime Minister assure the House that there is an adequate stock of both fuel and plant, particularly in the light of the Minister of Power's statement, reported in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, that if we have another hard winter we shall be in trouble?

The Prime Minister

The position which has emerged from a close study of the prospects is that the margin of plant capacity in the principal industries concerned is greater now than it was last winter. No one can guarantee what the consequences would be if there were an unduly hard winter—this has always been the position for very many years—but the margin is greater, and it will increase in subsequent years. No committee, governmental or other, can in the short run provide an adequate margin of capacity. It is a four or five-year job, and the whole difficulty is due to miscalculation of requirements four or five years ago.

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