§ Mr. Lomas
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will recommend that in new housing development, and in houses where improvement grants are given, gas and electricity meters and fuse boxes are placed in an accessible position;
(2) if he will recommend that in new housing development, and in houses where improvement grants are given, gas and electricity meters are placed in such a position that external reading facilities are available.
§ Mr. Channon
Housebuilders are well aware of the advantages of external meter reading and the accessibility of services equipment. The Electricity Council has recently reported an increasing popularity of outdoor electricity meter cupboards and that a significant number of new houses are now being equipped with them.
External meter facilities are not always appropriate. There would, for instance, be problems of vandalism where prepayment meters are used. I have commissioned design research to see whether this problem can be solved.
In the case of older housing, external meter facilities can be provided as part of grant-aided improvement work. It will, however, be for the local authority and householder concerned to assess whether the advantages of external meter facilities outweigh the cost of providing them in older housing.