HC Deb 09 July 1968 vol 768 cc194-5
29. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Power what decision has now been reached about an electricity generating station at Seaton Carew.

36. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Power when the Central Electricity Generating Board will be allowed to place orders for the Hartlepool and Heysham stations.

Mr. Mason

No decision has yet been reached. The timing of orders for any new power stations will depend on the outcome of the present capital investment reviews.

Mr. Shinwell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we have been waiting for a decision for two years, and now that we have a new Minister surely there will be an improvement on his predecessors? If there is not, we will tell him to get out. Is he aware that it would be far better to reach a decision, whatever it is, because as things are there is a good deal of insecurity?

Mr. Mason

I am aware of my right hon. Friend's views. I noticed that in the Adjournment debate on 11th April he said and he has repeated it today—that what he wanted was a decision, irrespective of whether it was in favour of nuclear power or coal. I hope to be able to give a decision fairly soon.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the last order for a generating station was placed by the Central Electricity Generating Board in March, 1967, for Hinckley Point B? How does he think that the electrical manufacturing industry can make progress when it does not get an order in 16 months?

Mr. Mason

I appreciate that one of the great concerns about this delay is the effect on suppliers, and although I appreciate the point that the ordering took place in March, the start was in September, 1967.

Mr. Leadbitter

Is the Minister aware that we have had one excuse after another over the past two years in order to qualify the Government's indecision? We now have before us today a suggestion by my right hon. Friend about capital estimates. Some time ago it was load estimates. Will my right hon. Friend understand that a case has been made out, and that the unemployment position in my area also requires a decision?

Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

Too long. Sit down.

Mr. Leadbitter

Shut up.

Mr. Mason

I assume that my hon. Friend is speaking to an hon. Member opposite. A decision on the Central Electricity Generating Board's investment programme is expected before the autumn, so we shall be able to clear up the matter then.

Mr. Ridley

Though we are in the white heat of the technological revolution the right hon. Gentleman's Department has made no decision of any sort whatever. Will the Minister now undertake to give a decision on this matter before the Summer Recess?

Mr. Mason

No, Sir. I cannot make a decision before the House rises.