HC Deb 12 December 1967 vol 756 cc193-4
30. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Minister of Power how much of the £3,000 million a year spent on fuel is for domestic and industrial purposes, respectively; and approximately how much in each group is spent on the different fuels.

Mr. Marsh

Excluding purchases of fuels for transport, purchases by domestic consumers accounted for about one third, and by industry one quarter, of the estimated £3,500 million annual expenditure on all forms of fuel; in both cases about 45 per cent, being on electricity and 30 per cent, on solid fuel. Purchases of gas by domestic consumers accounted for 20 per cent, and by industry 5 per cent., and of oil 5 per cent, and 20 per cent, respectively.

Sir C. Osborne

Do those figures mean that any increase in the cost of fuel will fall proportionately more on the domestic consumer than on industry? If so, will it not be a more onerous charge on the poorer section of the nation than on industry? Should not this be looked into?

Mr. Marsh

It is rather more difficult than that. One of the things we have been seeking to do in the last electricity increases has been to begin to redress the balance in favour of industry in relation to industrial costs, and fuel costs, as a part of the industrial costs, are a very large fraction. This means that some of the extra cost must be diverted to the domestic consumer.