§ Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress has been made by the electricity and gas industries in making arrangements to accept each other's savings stamps; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Norman Lamont
I am pleased to announce that agreement has been reached between area electricity boards and the British Gas Corporation whereby each industry will accept the other's savings stamps in payment or part-payment of its bills. This means, for example, that electricity consumers will be able to save with either gas or electricity stamps towards the payment of their electricity bills. The scheme will start on 4 August.
A large number of consumers already use gas and electricity savings stamps in paying their bills. I welcome this agreement which further extends the outlets at which consumers can buy their stamps and so save towards their next bill. The scheme will help those people, particularly among the elderly, who have to take great care in managing their budgets. It will complement the direct Government measures of assistance with fuel bills to those in greatest need announced by my right hen. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services on 22 March.