HC Deb 05 February 1998 vol 305 cc786-7W
Mr. Clapham

To ask the President of the Board of Trade on what statutory basis he has decided to change existing entitlements to concessionary fuel as set out in the 1983 Concessionary Fuel Agreement. [22234]

Mr. Battle

We are required to ensure that, as a major purchaser of solid fuel, our purchasing does not discriminate between suppliers of fuels. Such discrimination is unlawful under Article 30 of the EC Treaty (Treaty of Rome) and under Articles 4 and 63 of the ECSC Treaty (Treaty of Paris). In addition, the Public Procurement Supplies Directive (93/36/EEC) imposes obligations of non-discrimination, spelt out particularly in the provisions relating to technical specifications. It is necessary that required specifications are not used in a potentially discriminatory manner. Specification of manufactured smokeless fuel products by brand name is not permitted.