HC Deb 04 February 1974 vol 868 cc858-9
4. Mr. Skeet

asked the Minister for Energy if he will supply, or arrange to be supplied, to companies with a substantial export commitment additional supplies of oil so that further use may be made of standby generators.

Mr. Emery

I am considering whether limited supplementary allocations could be made available to run standby generators for industrial production.

Mr. Skeet

I am much obliged for that answer. Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that those who participate in the new Iranian deal will be able to use their oil for their own requirements, and that it will be a reward for the initiative of those who have been able to put aside standby generators for this very purpose?

Mr. Emery

I realise the use which industry has been able to make of standby generation. Of course, the Government want it to continue, subject only to overriding problems concerning electricity and supplies in the weeks ahead.

Mr. Carter

Is the Minister aware that at a time of increasing difficulties in exports and imports Britain's chief export earner, the car industry, is being strangled by the three-day week? Does he not think that the Government should move with rather more urgency, come to terms with the miners, find a settlement and put this vital industry back on to a five-day week?

Mr. Emery

I hope the hon. Gentleman will make that speech just as strongly to the mining union as he does to this House. May I also correct him on a matter of fact? The major part of the motor industry is considered as a continuous process and is working on a 65 per cent. full five-day week, not a three-day week.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

Will my hon. Friend accept that firms in my constituency will be pleased that he is seriously considering providing additional supplies for standby generators? Will he further accept that firms in my constituency, both those on continuous process working and others, are managing to keep up to about 85 per cent. of production with the assistance of these generators, thus keeping up exports?

Mr. Emery

I thank my hon. Friend for her remarks, and I thank industry and the unions, too, for the way in which they have co-operated in many instances to keep production as high as they have.