HC Deb 05 December 1996 vol 286 cc743-4W
Mr. Battle

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will express in real terms, and where the year of privatisation equals 100, the utility component of the retail prices index including VAT in(a) the latest available period and (b) 1979 for (i) gas prices, (ii) electricity prices, (iii) electricity and gas prices, (iv) water prices and (v) electricity, gas and water prices. [5302]

The Council took no formal votes, the presidency concluding that there was the necessary majority to establish the second reading draft budget for 1997.

The Council also agreed letter of amendment No. 2 to the 1997 draft budget which provides for the financing of certain agricultural measures in connection with beef consumption.

Mr. Jack

[holding answer 25 November 1996]The information requested is given in the table. As the table shows, even including the introduction of VAT for electricity and gas, prices have rise more slowly than overall retail prices since privatisation. Water price changes reflect the large-scale capital investment and environmental programmes to which the privatised utilities are committed.

Gas1 Electricity1 Electricity and gas2 Water1 Electricity, gas and water2
Year of privatisation 1986 1990 1990 1989 1990
1979 76 98 93 73 91
October 1996 80 98 96 146 103
1Source ONS.
2Using 1990 weights.

The components of the retail prices index for electricity and gas, and for electricity, gas and water assume a privatisation year of 1990—the year that the electricity utilities were fully privatised. These figures have been deflated by the RPI, and include VAT for electricity and gas.