HC Deb 26 June 1989 vol 155 c682
2. Mr. Mullin

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has had with the director-general-designate of the Office of Electricity Regulation since his appointment.

The Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. Cecil Parkinson)

Discussions are taking place between my Department and Professor Littlechild on a wide range of issues.

Mr. Mullin

Is it not wholly improper to appoint Professor Littlechild to a job which requires independence, given his association with a number of Conservative party think-tanks and his former role as a political adviser?

Mr. Parkinson

First, Professor Littlechild has never been a political adviser. He has been an adviser to the Government, which is quite different from being an adviser to the party. I have never heard any Labour Members suggest that Sir Gordon Borrie is unfit to hold his job as the Director General of Fair Trading because he stood as a Labour candidate in a parliamentary election. He has turned out to be a distinguished public servant, as will Professor Littlechild.

Mr. Rost

When is the grid company likely to be able to announce the basis on which it will charge for transmission? Until that is announced, no contracts can get under way, either between the newly independent producers or between the distributors and existing producers.

Mr. Parkinson

We are making good progress on a range of issues. I hope that these figures will be available by the end of July.