HC Deb 20 February 1984 vol 54 cc556-7
14. Mr. Tony Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has issued any guidelines about the termination of gas and electricity supply to industrial users; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Giles Shaw

No, Sir. This is primarily a matter for the judgment of the gas and electricity supply industries.

Mr. Lloyd

Does the Under-Secretary of State accept that industry and employment already suffer because of high energy prices and that in the tragically all too frequent number of firms going into receivership the gas and electricity boards have a responsibility to be flexible, especially towards companies such as James H. Dennis, in my constituency in Trafford Park, which went into receivership? Does the hon. Gentleman consider that the North-Western electricity board, in insisting on being treated as a secure creditor for all outstanding debts before it maintained the electricity supply was irresponsible, threatening as it did the survival of the company? Will the Minister reconsider the answer that he has just given?

Mr. Shaw

I shall not reconsider my answer. I accept that there are occasions when there must be flexibility. I am sure that, as a matter of course, the gas and electricity boards have such flexibility. It is important that they act commercially in relation to their supply contracts. I believe that the hon. Gentleman has a particular constituency case in mind. I am sure that my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State who is responsible for these affairs in the Department of Energy will see him and discuss those matters.