HC Deb 12 February 1973 vol 850 cc977-8
29. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will enter into consultations with the Central Electricity Generating Board on the subject of the provision of future generating capacity, with a view to his making an early statement in the House.

Mr. Emery

My hon. Friend the Minister for Industry will continue with me to maintain our normal close contacts with the electricity supply industry on this question.

Mr. Hardy

I would ask the Minister to bear in mind that he has not answered that part of my Question which requests that the House be kept informed on this matter, but given the continuing and commendable increase in productivity, and the accepted and real need for a viable coal industry to be maintained in this country, does he agree that it is reasonable that the question of future coal-fired generation capacity should be fully discussed and favourably viewed?

Mr. Emery

If at any time I thought the House not fully informed by parliamentary question and answer and debate I would be willing to make a statement, but I think adequate opportunity has been given for full discussion of the viability of the coal industry generally on the Bill which is now before the House, and during its Committee stage, which has just concluded.

Mr. Varley

Can the Minister be more specific? For example, in spite of today's Press reports that the Central Electricity Generating Board will not now go ahead with Drax B, can he confirm that this will go ahead as announced by the last Government on 29th October 1969? When it does, will this at least be coal-fired?

Mr. Emery

I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that no proposals have been made to me or my right hon. and hon. Friends by the Central Electricity Generating Board for the construction of Drax B power station. When proposals are put to me we will, of course, make our assessment and an announcement.