§ Mr. Palmer
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has received the report of the Plowden Committee on the structure of the electricity supply industry in England and Wales; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Benn
Yes. I have now received the Committee's Report, and am considering its findings. The Committee's main conclusion is that the industry's present structure, which emphasises the independence of the Central Electricity Generating Board and the area electricity boards, has produced a situation in which the Electricity Council is unable to give the industry the strong leadership and central direction it requires. It has accordingly recommended that the industry should be unified under a single statutory body, to be named the Central Electricity Board, which would take over the existing responsibilities of the Electricity Council, the CEGB and the area boards.
I am arranging for the Report to be published as soon as possible, and shall, of course, seek the views of those who work in the industry, including the unions concerned and other interested bodies, before reaching conclusions. In the meantime, I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my gratitude to Lord Plowden and all members of his Committee for the valuable work they have done and for all the time and effort they have put into completing their report in little more than a year.