§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for Energy under what enactments relevant to his Department other than the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975, Section 4(1), he is enabled to issue general and specific directions; and whether he is contemplating extending this facility to other State corporations in his charge.
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon
My right hon. Friend is able to issue general directions under the following provisions: Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946; Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954; Electricity Act 1957; Gas Act 1972.
My right hon. Friend has powers of specific direction, in addition to that contained in the Petroleum and Submarines Pipe-lines Act 1975, Section 4(1), which refer to such matters as the application of excess revenues, the form of accounts and the discontinuance of certain activities. These powers may be exercised under the following Acts: Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946; Electricity Act 1947; Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954; Electricity Act 1957; Opencast Coal Act 1958; Gas Act 1965; Coal Industry Act 1971; Town and Country Planning Act 1971; Gas Act 1972.
In addition my right hon. Friend has powers to give specific directions under Sections 2, 6 and 7 of and under Schedule 2 to the Energy Act 1976, to undertakings which would include the nationalised industry boards. These cover such matters as control of the production, supply and use of fuels in an emergency, the holding of petroleum stocks, the holding of fuel stocks at power stations, and the furnishing of relevant information.
The question of the future relationship between Government and nationalised industries, including ministerial powers of direction, is now being considered by the Government following the publication of the recent NEDO report on the United Kingdom nationalised industries. As the Prime Minister stated in the House on 18th November, the Government intend to publish their conclusions next year in a White Paper.