§ Dr. Michael Clark
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will state his latest planned timetable for the privatisation of the British Gas Corporation.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
Now that the Gas Act 1986 has received Royal Assent, I intend that the Office for Gas Supply should be set up on 18 August and that the new regulatory arrangements for the gas industry set out in the Act (including those for the new Gas Consumers' Council) should come into force on 23 August. A copy of the authorisation which will be granted under section 7 of the Act permitting British Gas to operate as a public gas supplier will be placed in the Library of the House shortly. I intend that the transfer date when the property, rights and liabilities of the British Gas Corporation will be vested in British Gas plc will be 24 August.
Subject to market conditions I expect that the sale of British Gas shares should take place during the second half of November this year.