HC Deb 08 February 1971 vol 811 cc3-4
5. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied that oil supplies will be sufficient to meet consumers' needs in this country during the winter months; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Davies

The arrangements which have been made by the leading oil companies for obtaining supplies should be sufficient to meet their commitments this winter.

Mr. Eadie

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that there is public anxiety about future oil supplies, and will he agree that there is also concern about prices—that, for example, 1d. on a gallon is equal to about 19s. 4d. per ton of coal? Is it not time that he made a statement—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member is asking three question on one supplementary. I must ask for one only.

Mr. Davies

The question of prices is, of course, for the companies themselves in the light of competition which exists in this field. With your permission Mr. Speaker, I shall be answering a Question on certain aspects of oil supply later.

Mr. Lane

Is it not a fact that the oil companies, largely operating under private enterprise, have succeeded in maintaining supplies through two very difficult years in the face of considerable problems and can be relied on to go on providing an increasing share of our energy supplies in the years ahead, despite their present difficulties?

Mr. Davies

The oil industry has a good record for maintaining supplies under difficulties, and certainly will have to use its abilities to a singular degree in future when more dependence will be put upon it for the maintenance of supplies.

6. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of Trade and Industry what representations he has received from the steel industry about oil supplies and the recent price increase; and what reply he has given.

The Minister for Industry (Sir John Eden)

I am aware of the steel industry's concern about the increase in the price of fuel oil, but I have not heard of any difficulty about supplies.

Mr. Eadie

Has the Minister made a calculation of what the additional cost will be to industry as a consequence of the increased price?

Sir J. Eden

No. The consequent increases are primarily dependent upon the nature of the contracts entered into between the steel industry and the companies concerned.

Mr. Lane

Will my hon. Friend confirm that over the past 20 years the wholesale prices of oil have risen substantially less than the prices of coal, gas and electricity?

Sir J. Eden

Yes, Sir. That is correct.

Back to