HC Deb 08 March 1966 vol 725 cc1893-4
32. Mr. Palmer

asked the Minister of Power if he will make it a condition of his capital sanction for the three or four large new power stations of the conventional type expected to be built on the lower Thames during the next 15 years that the coal and oil industries be allowed to quote prices on fair and equal terms, particularly in relation to quantity and duration of contract over the same period of years.

Mr. Frederick Lee

Each proposal will be considered on its merits, and, as was made clear in the White Paper on Fuel Policy, Cmnd. 2798, proposals to build oil-fired power stations will receive special scrutiny.

Mr. Palmer

Has my right hon. Friend studied the evidence given before the Select Committee on Nationalised Indus- tries, particularly that of the Chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board and the Chairman of the National Coal Board on long-term contracts? Does not he think that on this evidence the Coal Board is placed at a serious disadvantage?

Mr. Lee

I have studied the evidence to which my hon. Friend refers. But the National Coal Board has not approached the Government with any suggestions for amending the Act.

Mr. Lubbock

Why does the Minister sanction further coal- or oil-fired stations for base-load purposes in view of the fact that the Atomic Energy Authority has developed an advanced gas-cooled reactor which produces electricity cheaper than any conventional fuel?

Mr. Lee

If we did not sanction any more coal- and oil-fired stations, we should be shockingly short of electricity.