HC Deb 04 August 1980 vol 990 c1W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has received the report for 1979–80 from the North Thames Gas Consumers' Council sent to him by the chairman in June; what the total costs of this council in staff, officers and offices, and so on, have been; what action he has taken or proposes to take to reduce the costs of this council; how these costs compare with the previous year; and what benefits he considers have been brought by the activities of this council.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

I have received a copy of the North Thames Gas Consumers' Council annual report from the chairman. I consider that the principal benefits deriving from the activities of the council are the help given to consumers in resolving individual problems and complaints and its influence in persuading North Thames Gas to adopt policy and procedural changes in the general interests of consumers.

The total costs of the North Thames Gas Consumers' Council for 1979–80 were £63,000. Although some provision has been made in the current financial year for salary increases and inflation, this and the other gas consumers' councils are subject to the general constraints on public expenditure and this will require economies to be made.

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