HC Deb 28 May 1968 vol 765 c1517
32. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Minister of Power if, in view of the substantial additional costs of coal and gas in Scotland, he will review his policy on regional pricing in the nationalised fuel industries.

Mr. Freeson

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend considers that regional differences in costs, if substantial, should be reflected in prices.

Mr. Taylor

Does the Minister agree that the facts that coal costs £1 a ton more in Scotland than the average in England and Wales and that gas is 25 per cent. above the average for England and Wales are great disincentives to industry in Scotland? Can he give a categorical assurance that the nationalised steel industry will not impose differential prices in place of the present uniform prices?

Mr. Freeson

The latter question is a matter for the B.S.C. to take into account in its present studies of pricing policy. We have discussed the first point across the Floor of the House many times in the past year. What ever the merits or demerits of postalised prices, I must repeat that it does not necessarily follow that if we operated such a policy all development areas would benefit from it. Some would suffer.