§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has had with the Gas Corporation regarding the price of gas since the Budget; what is his current estimate of the annual cost to public funds of price subsidies 555W paid to the board; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Varley
As regards the first part of the Question, I have nothing to add to my answer to the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet) on 17th June. There are no price subsidies as such to the British Gas Corporation, but by way of compensation for exercising price restraint the Government have paid the Corporation for the financial years 1970–71 to 1972–73 the sum of£33.3 million in accordance with the provisions of Section 1 of the Statutory Corporations (Financial Provisions) Act 1974. For the year 1973–74 the corresponding compensation payment is estimated to be about£40 million, but the exact amount will depend on, among other things, the precise outturn shown in the corporation's accounts for the year; for the year 1974–75 the amount due for any corresponding payment will depend in the first instance on the outturn of the corporation's accounts for that year and I am accordingly at the moment not in a position to estimate the compensation that may be payable for that year.