HC Deb 16 December 1985 vol 89 cc9-10
11. Mr. Spencer

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what arrangements will be made for the pension fund of British Gas when it is privatised.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy (Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith)

I understand from the corporation that there will be no change in the management of the funds or the benefits they provide.

Mr. Spencer

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the time has come for trade union leaders to stop indulging in scandalous scaremongering about this subject? Does he believe that that is in direct proportion to their fear that the privatisation of gas will be a roaring success?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right. Such talk about the pension fund is complete scaremongering. Those who indulge in it are trying to detract from the real benefits to the consumer, the employees and the management of that industry.

Mr. Eastham

If, as the Minister suggests, there will be real benefits after privatisation, can he tell the House whether gas will become cheaper?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman was unable to attend last week's debate. With the greater spur for efficiency that a privatised industry will undoubtedly create, there are no grounds for thinking that the price of gas will be higher than it would otherwise be.