§ 10. Mr. Edwin Wainwright
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the cost of oil per ton purchased by the Central Electricity Generating Board over each of this past 10 years.
§ Sir J. Eden
The exact price paid is a commercial matter between the C.E.G.B. and its suppliers, but some information on average prices paid by the electricity industry as a whole is available in Table 99 of the Department's Digest of Energy Statistics, 1971.
§ Mr. Wainwright
May I thank the Minister for not giving the information? Is he aware that the price of oil is bound to rise during the next 10 years and that because the situation in the Arab States is unstable there is a danger of oil supplies being cut off? Will the hon. Gentleman do whatever he can to rebuff the pressures from his right hon. Friend who is trying to teach the miners a lesson by changing over some coal-fired power stations to oil? Let me warn the Government that if that happens the recent incidents during the picketing will be 13 such as might have happened at a kindergarten, because the miners will fight tenaciously, with vigour and with strength, against any contraction of their industry.
§ Sir J. Eden
The hon. Gentleman should consult himself about who is making threats. The whole question of the security of supplies is important. It affects both coal and oil. But the C.E.G.B. advises me that oil is marginally cheaper than coal for base-load generation.