HC Deb 23 April 1968 vol 763 cc1-3
1. Sir C. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Power what further curtailment of investment, having regard to the Budget, he now proposes to arrange with nationalised fuel boards, including coal, gas and electricity; and by how much he has reduced investments in these nationalised industries during 1968–69 to meet con- temporary economic needs and conditions.

The Minister of Power (Mr. R. J. Gunter)

Reductions of£17 million,£10 million and£4 million in the capital allocations for 1968–69 of the electricity industry in England and Wales and the gas and coal industries respectively were announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 21st December last. A further reduction of£16 million has since been agreed with the Electricity Council and Boards in England and Wales, primarily in the light of revised estimates of the trend of demand.—[Vol. 756, c. 488.]

Sir G. Nabarro

May I be the first on this side of the House to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his new appointment? As there is now a good deal of dubiety as to what are the investment programmes of the nationalised fuel boards, changed since 21st December, not further changed on account of devaluation, and with no White Paper republished, could not we have more detailed figures circulated?

Mr. Gunter

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his congratulations. The cuts in the capital expenditure of the nationalised industries announced after devaluation were an integral part of the policy pursued in the Budget of restraining private and public consumption. I will certainly give thought to the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, if he has any doubts.

Mrs. Thatcher

I, too, congratulate the right hon. Gentleman and express the hope that we shall receive more direct answers to direct questions than we did from his predecessor. My recollection is that part of the£17 million saving for the electricity industry was due to the postponement of one power station. Which one?

Mr. Gunter

I cannot answer that question offhand. I am grateful for the hon. Lady's congratulations.