HC Deb 25 February 1952 vol 496 cc97-8W
125. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what were the circumstances which led to the resignation of the newly-appointed Chairman of the Yorkshire Electricity Board; and if he will announce the name of his successor.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Mr. J. S. Pickles asked if he could return to the South West Scotland Electricity Board for personal reasons. I have appointed Mr. D. Bellamy, formerly sub-area manager in Hull, to be Chairman of the Yorkshire Electricity Board.

126. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will now make a statement as to his findings regarding the incorrect information supplied by his Department last year in connection with the building licences granted to the Yorkshire Electricity Board.

130. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is now in a position to report the result of his Departmental investigation into the circumstances in which his predecessor was provided with inaccurate information for a Parliamentary answer.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Yes. Sir Godfrey Russell Vick, Q.C., Chairman of the Bar Council, was good enough to accept my invitation to inquire into and report upon the circumstances in which this incorrect information came to be given. He has interviewed all the officers of my Department and of the Yorkshire Electricity Board who were able to thrown any light upon the matter and he has now sent me his report, copies of which I am placing in the Library. The Government, and I am sure all hon. Members, are most grateful to him for a characteristically thorough investigation.

I think a fair summary of his conclusions is that the main responsibility for the incorrectness of the information given by my predecessor must rest on the senior officers of the Yorkshire Electricity Board. They had ample opportunity of correcting the form of reply which had been suggested to them by an officer of my Department as being the correct way of expressing the information he had been given at short notice over the telephone. But though misled by this information, the Departmental officers concerned must bear some responsibility for allowing the draft reply to go forward when it should have been obvious that no satisfactory reply could at that time be given.

Part of the difficulty in this case arose out of the form of authorisation which dated from the early days of the war and was designed to meet war-time conditions. I am arranging to alter the form of authorisation for building work on offices, showrooms and the like so as to make it quite clear that the work is controlled not only by the plans but by the sum of money specified in the authorisation.

129. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what was the amount by which the Yorkshire Electricity Board exceeded the amount licensed for building work.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The Yorkshire Electricity Board pleaded guilty to a count in an indictment of having incurred unauthorised expenditure of £41,217 19s. 4d. at Scarcroft.