HC Deb 09 July 1968 vol 768 cc191-2
20. Mr. Kenneth Lewis

asked the Minister of Power whether he will make a statement about his consultations on the structure of the electricity industry.

Mr. Mason

I shall be continuing the consultations on the need for changes in the structure of the electricity industry. It is likely to be some time before I shall be ready to make a statement.

Mr. Lewis

Can the Minister offer any hope that his statement will be made before the Summer Recess? Will he bear in mind, in his discussions, that the industry requires less rather than more Government interference and control by this House so that it can get on with its commercial job?

Mr. Mason

I cannot promise to make a statement before the Recess. I will take into consideration the latter point made by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Palmer

Is my right hon. Friend aware that employees in the industry are anxious that an early statement should be made, remembering that delay is very bad for morale?

Mr. Mason

I appreciate that, but this is rather a technical matter which will take some time. We want to make sure that if any change is merited, it occurs without disruption to the industry.

Mrs. Thatcher

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is more than a technical matter? If he is unable to make a further statement, can he say with what purpose in mind he is looking at the structure of the electricity industry? Is it to bring production and marketing closer together, in accordance with the comments in the P.I.B. Report?

Mr. Mason

We are taking that into consideration. It is one of the points we are examining.

Mr. Manuel

In connection with any possible changes in the structure of the electricity industry, does my right hon. Friend envisage the industry working more closely with the gas industry? Is he aware that large savings could be made—for example, in advertising and salesmanship matters—and that these industries could work closer together instead of often being in opposition to each other?

Mr. Mason

Yes, Sir. I am aware of that and no doubt the House will have noted that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has on some minor points, though not on major matters, been trying to get both sides to work together, especially in the use of showrooms and meter reading.

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