HC Deb 11 February 1980 vol 978 cc1042-3
8. Mr. Marlow

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what has been the increase in domestic gas prices as compared with the commercial gas price, household coal, two star petrol, electricity, heating oil, retail prices and supplementary benefit for the period since December 1975 to the latest convenient date; and what the estimate is for each of these to December.

The Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. David Howell)

It is not possible to give a meaningful summary of fuel prices for the country as a whole. Prices vary according to geographic location, quantities purchased and, in the case of coal, petrol and heating oil, individual merchants. I have arranged for the relevant information related to the Northampton area to be tabulated in the Official Report.

Mr. Marlow

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend and look forward to reading the remainder of his answer in the Official Report. However, does he agree that even under the new circumstances domestic gas will be a good buy, and that the higher the profit level of the British Gas Corporation the lower the amount of taxation that we shall have to raise? Does he further agree that that is of great benefit to gas and non-gas users?

Mr. Howell

My hon. Friend is right. Over the past five years, much the lowest price increase of all fuels has been for gas. It has been much lower than for almost all other fuels, and certainly lower than retail prices generally. It is correct that, for the coming year and the years thereafter, a large part of the profits of

Fuel Consumption level Percentage price increase
Gas (Domestic) 80 therms/Annum 27
400 therms/Annum 39
1,200 therms/Annum 40
Gas (Commercial) 5,000 therms/Annum 87
Household Coal Deliveries of 1 ton 91
2 Star Petrol 53
Electricity (Domestic) 750 Kwh/Annum 70
5,000 Kwh/Annum 69
30,000 Kwh/Annum 76
Gas Oil Deliveries of 500 gallons 97
Retail Price Index All Items 64
Fuel and Light 65.3
Long Term Rate Single Householder 73
Supplementary Benefits Married Couple 75
* The estimated increases for fuel prices to December 1980 are not available except for gas to the domestic sector where the figure is 29 per cent. The estimated increase for supplementary benefit is a question for the Secretary of State for Social Services.