§ 9. Mr. Michael Marshall
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will give a general direction to the gas and electricity authorities to combine their present showroom facilities.
§ Mr. Marshall
I thank the Minister for the partial encouragement in that answer, and I, too, thank him for sending me an advance copy of it in good time. Will he, however, look at the matter in the widest possible sense, because there is here the question not only of possible economy but of direct energy saving? Will the hon. Gentleman consider this proposal also in the context of the advertising being done by these two nationalised undertakings, which also can cause a serious waste of resources?
§ Mr. Eadie
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he says. He will know that this question has been under examination over the past 20 years, but even in the last report no firm recommendation was made. It is fair to say that there has been resistance to any such proposal, especially from the consumers' councils, which, after all, have to be considered. They do not like showrooms to be closed, because these premises are used for other purposes—for instance, the payment of bills. However, the hon. Gentleman is quite right when he makes the point that some forms of advertising would be undesirable in today's conditions. I imagine that he and other hon. Members have noted the relevance of much current publicity for energy-saving efforts, and, as I have said, the whole matter is now being reconsidered.
§ Mr. Palmer
Will my hon. Friend assure the House that it is not the present Government's intention to proceed with 1001 the policy of the previous Conservative Government, which was to close these publicly-owned facilities altogether?