HC Deb 26 November 1973 vol 865 cc20-1
42. Mr. Grimond

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what steps are being taken to conserve petrol and heating oil by Ministers and the Civil Service.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment has written to all Ministers urging them to economise in the use of the Government Car Service. My Department has issued written instructions to all Government Departments about economies in the use of energy supplies generally, and certain restrictions on the use of electricity in particular.

Mr. Grimond

While I welcome that answer, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that, even without a crisis, the regulations dealing with the heating of Government offices are often far too rigid? Is he further aware that, if there is to be any hope of persuading the public to use less petrol and oil, the example will have to come from Ministers? Can he give the House any figure of the percentage cut at which he is aiming, and can he say what this means in real terms?

Mr. Baker

I agree that Ministers should set an example in this matter. In the week commencing 12th November there were savings in the use of petrol by the Government car pool in London of some 400 gallons, which is 15 per cent. The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that Ministers are using smaller cars. No doubt he may find difficulty in getting into a Mini, but I am sure he is sufficiently pliable and flexible to make the effort.

Sir John Hall

Does my hon. Friend agree that, judging by the present temperature in this Chamber, the House of Commons is making its contribution to the saving of heating?

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