HC Deb 04 July 1983 vol 45 cc10-1
8. Mr. Moate

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied with the level of his departmental resources allocated to encouraging energy saving in industry.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Yes. Moreover, I am implementing a number of organisational changes within my Department as part of our commitment to set up an energy efficiency office to increase the effectiveness with which the resources are used.

Mr. Moate

The announcement about setting up an energy efficiency office will be widely welcomed. Is there not a strict limit to what industry can achieve by better load management techniques and the like, and cannot many investment projects produce dramatic savings, often in industries which are short of investment resources—for example, the paper industry? Will my right hon. Friend consult the Department of Trade and Industry about the possibility of stimulating a major investment programme in energy-saving projects?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I shall consider anything that is economically viable. The Government already have a number of incentive schemes which are going quite well. This year we are spending over £103 million on various conservation measures. I agree that the matter is important. I shall bear in mind my hon. Friend's remarks.

Mr. John Smith

Is the Minister aware of the concern about the needs not only of industry but of individual consumers, such as motorists, and think again about his response to the request to refer the petrol price increase to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission? Is it not disgraceful that petrol prices should be increased at the start of the holiday period, when the consumer is most vulnerable? As the Government are keen to refer all public sector organisations to the scrutiny of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, will the right hon. Gentleman make a start by referring this large private sector organisation to ensure that justice is done?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman of the competition in that industry. Many companies are involved, whereas the right hon. and learned Gentleman speaks of an announcement by only one company.