HC Deb 30 March 1976 vol 908 cc425-6W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Energy why he has taken action to print and circulate to post offices new petrol rationing coupons; why the earlier issue could not have been used; what is the additional cost; and how this compares with the previous issue which was destroyed.

Mr. John Smith

The holding of stocks of coupons—including stocks at selected post offices is an essential part of the Government's long-standing contingency plans against a possible motor fuel shortage. New coupons are needed because the earlier versions were issued to motorists

of disconnections of consumers of electricity and gas, respectively in each quarter of the five years to the latest available figures.

Mr. Eadie

The following information has been supplied by the Electricity Council and British Gas Corporation respectively.

Electricity: Quarterly figures are available only for the year ending 31st March 1976, as follows:

Quarter ending No. of disconnections in England and Wales
30th June 1975 39,403
30th September 1975 39,223
31st December 1975 33,323
31st March 1976 26,450*

The annual figure for the last four years are:

Year No. of disconnections in England and Wales
1972–73 117,369
1973–74 113,778
1974–75 120,330
1975–76 138,399*
* This figure is actual plus an estimate for March.

Gas: Quarterly figures are not available for the year 1971/72 or for the quarter ending 31st March 1976, but the available information is:

as a precaution during the 1973–74 emergency and subsequently declared obsolete. The new coupons cost £258,000. The estimated cost of the previous issue was £500,000.

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