HC Deb 05 December 1985 vol 88 c291W
Mr. Dykes

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on revisions to the British Gas Corporation's external financing limit for 1985–86.

Mr. Peter Walker

BGC's EFL for 1985–86 was published in Cmnd. 9428 as—£352 million. The figure had been agreed with the corporation in November 1984. In the early part of this year, exchange rates were markedly lower than had been assumed. The cost to BGC of its gas purchases is closely linked to exchange rates, albeit with some delay. Although the rates have since improved, the corporation's gas costs for 1985–86 are expected to be higher than had been forecast when the EFL was agreed. I have, therefore, decided it would be right to set a new EFL and have agreed with the corporation a figure of —£176 million, which takes into account offsetting savings made by BGC. BGC's negative EFL reflects the net cash generated by the business and is a cssh surplus, retained by the corporation, although it counts as negative public expenditure. The change in BGC's EFL from —£352 million to —£176 million will be charged to the reserve and therefore will not affect the public expenditure planning total.

Back to