§ Mrs. Beckett
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will express as an index where the year of privatisation equals 100 the utility component of the retail prices index including value added tax in(a) 1979 and (b) the latest available period for (i) gas prices, (ii) electricity prices, (iii) electricity and gas prices, (iv) water prices and (v) gas, electric and water prices. 
§ Mr. Jack
[holding answer 22 May 1996]:The information is as follows:
Period Gas Electricity Electricity and gas Water Gas, electricity and water Year of privatization 1986 1990 1990 1989 1990 1979 44 44 42 36 41 May 1996 125 121 118 194 127
Although the gas/water/electricity prices has risen to 127 compared to 100 in 1990, a wider range of utility prices, which also includes the price of telephone services, rail fares and postage, has risen to only 121.3. In real terms, this is an increase of only one and half percentage point.
The components of the retail prices index for electricity and gas, and for gas, electricity and water, assume a privatisation year of 1990—the year that electricity utilities were fully privatised.