HC Deb 04 February 1974 vol 868 c858
3. Mr. Kaufman

asked the Minister for Energy why on 17th January his Department decided to change the text of advertisements for publication in the Press on 18th January, and to cancel advertisements due for publication on 21st January.

Mr. Emery

The proposed advertisements had been planned to explain the combined effects of the various orders restricting the use of electricity by industry and commerce. When it became evident that certain relaxations might be possible, I decided that to proceed with the prepared advertisements could lead to confusion.

Mr. Kaufman

Does the hon. Gentleman deny that this change from total panic to sudden optimistic exhortation by his Department was not based on a change in the fuel stocks position but was the result of an opportunist switch in political strategy? Is it really fair for his publicity department to be asked to brush up its advertising copy in the dark?

Mr. Emery

The hon. Gentleman could not be more wrong about panic in the Department. What the Department was seeking to achieve was to inform the public had we been able to go to a greater use of electricity for industry. When it became evident that the miners would ballot, the statement was made by my hon. Friend in the House. For that reason, the advertisement was not carried through and a savings advertisement was put in its place. That advertisement was ready for substitution and was worked in in the most efficient manner.