§ Mr. A. Edwards
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any increases in charges for electricity, gas, transport or coal, have been sanctioned since the Government stabilisation policy was announced in the last Budget Speech; and whether he will give details?314W
§ Sir K. Wood
Certain increases have been sanctioned. I append a statement. I would remind my hon. Friend that in my Budget Speech I spoke only of preventing or minimising the impact of certain increased costs on the prices of essential goods and services. The effect of these particular increases is very small.
Following is the statement:
Electricity.—Since the Budget statement, the Electricity Commissioners have been notified by eight local authorities and two Company undertakers of increases in electricity charges brought into operation after that date. These increases ranged up to about 15 per cent. on the then existing charges, some of which were pre-war charges and other increased charges brought into force at an earlier stage of the war. None of these increases was regarded by the Commissioners as unreasonable or as justifying any intervention by the Minister of War Transport.
Gas.—As regard gas, a general licence has been issued sanctioning increases on individual contracts due to the operation of a coal variation clause; the Board of Trade do not receive particulars of these increases. A licence has been issued to the South Staffordshire Mond Gas Company, which supplies gas only to industrial consumers, to increase all prices by 15 per cent.
Transport.—Increases of varying amounts have been sanctioned on certain of the charges of 10 harbour, dock and pier undertakings. Increases in certain carriage rates and tolls have been sanctioned for seven canal undertakings and 10 Canal Carriers. These increases do not generally exceed 16⅔ per cent. Increases in bus fares within a maximum of 16⅔ per cent. have been permitted at the discretion of Regional Transport Commissioners. Details are not available, but the number is small. Increases in fares within the statutory maximum have been sanctioned for one tram and trolley vehicle undertaking.
Coal.—A general increase in coal prices of 10d. a ton was authorised from the 1st June to meet the cost of the attendance bonus which had been agreed to by representatives of both sides of the industry. Apart from this, there have been local increases in certain areas, the chief being:
Per ton. Lanes, and Cheshire 10d. domestic, 2s. 3d. industrial. South Wales 1s. 8d. anthracite. 10d. other coal.