§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
"Two-part" tariffs (including a fixed component) are recommended to member states in the Council recommendations on electricity tariff structures (81/924/EEC) and on the methods of forming natural gas prices and tariffs (83/230/EEC) in the Community. The following table gives the latest available data on standing charges for domestic consumers of gas and electricity in EC countries (data are not available for Greece and Eire)
Standing charges to domestic consumers in European countries 1 July 1983 Gas £/Annum Electricity £/Annum Belgium 5.9 24.4 Denmark 29.4—257.4* 6.9 France 15.6 16.2—36.6 Federal Republic of Germany 9.1 28.3—36.8 Great Britain 39.6† 29.8 Italy 11.8‡ 3.5—13.5 Netherlands 10.6 15.3 Source: Informal survey. The above standing charges are those pertaining to certain European cities and relate to tariffs in force at 1 July, 1983. VAT is chargeable at between 8 and 22 per cent, on most of the above standing charges except those in the United Kingdom. * The gas standing charges for Denmark are dependent upon the maximum meter capacity. This ranges from 4½ cu metres per hour to 160 cu metres per hour on a graduated scale: domestic consumers would be unlikely to be at the upper end of this range. † The gas standing charge for Great Britain refers to the general zone. ‡ Minimum, dependent on size of installation or accommodation; above certain levels of consumption the standing charge will be higher than the figure quoted.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
Comprehensive information on rebates to pensioners for domestic energy supplies in other EC member states is not available.
In the United Kingdom the main assistance to domestic consumers is given in the form of social security 459W payments. The Government are spending some £380 million this financial year to assist the less well-off with heating costs, and over 90 per cent. of pensioners on supplementary benefit now receive heating additions. The British Gas Corporation and area electricity boards have also introduced rebate arrangements for standing charges in order to recognise the position of small consumers, and a large number of those who benefit are pensioners.