HC Deb 20 May 1974 vol 874 cc21-2
18. Mr. Edwin Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will now improve the present credit arrangements for domestic central heating installations.

Mr. Alan Williams

I have nothing to add to my reply to my hon. Friend's Question on 13th May.—[Vol. 873, c. 313. ]

Mr. Wainwright

Does my hon. Friend realise that, although I am not asking for instant government on this issue, I expect a quick and favourable reply to the Questions I put to him? When the negotiations take place will he bear in mind that the firm of Hattersley Brothers, in my constituency, is still on short time? It is struggling hard to get into the European market, with some success, but it requires a home base for its exports. Will my hon. Friend take into account that unemployment in the district is more than twice the national average and, therefore, we want to make certain that employment continues?

. Mr. Williams

I can assure my hon. Friend that I shall bear those factors in mind. In recent weeks he has made sure that I shall not be able to ignore them. He will recognise that most of the trouble facing the industry is due to the calamitous failure of the previous administration's housing problem.

Mr. McCrindle

In view of the forthcoming increases in the price of electricity, is it still the Government's policy to encourage the existence of both gas board and electricity board showrooms, often side by side on expensive High Street sites, offering facilities for central heating?

Mr. Williams

That is a completely different matter from the manufacturing of boilers.

Mr. McNamara

The point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Dearne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) is a matter of great concern to many people in our constituencies. It is of concern not only to firms such as Ideal Standards, which manufacture appliances, but to people seeking to improve their homes. When the previous administration introduced the order restricting credit it hit ordinary, decent people who were seeking to improve their ordinary, working-class homes. Is my hon. Friend aware that we want to see this anomaly rectified?

Mr. Williams

I am aware of the points my hon. Friend has made. He has made them to me in private conversation. I accept the seriousness with which the matter is viewed in many parts of the country. It is for that reason that I agreed to see the industry and why the Department of Industry arranged a discussion on the problem. I must ask my hon. Friends to wait for the outcome of the review.

Mr. Peter Walker

Will the Minister say whether it was announced before or after his meeting with the industry that there would be an increase of over 70 per cent. in the price of electricity for night storage heating?

Mr. Williams

I would not know about the date, but it was announced by a different Department. I am not sure of the point that the right hon. Gentleman is trying to make. I assume that it is as irrelevant as most of the points that he endeavours to make.