§ Mr. Murphy
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what recent representations he has received relating to the abolition of standing charges; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave on 15 March 1985 at column300. I have continued to receive some representations concerning the abolition of standing charges for gas and electricity to certain groups of consumers.
These charges, which are a matter for the industries concerned, reflect the fixed costs of maintaining a supply. Their abolition would involve the industries in recovering these costs through higher unit charges to consumers generally.