Orders of the Day — Third Schedule. — (Purchase Tax — Intermediate rate.)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1947.

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Photo of Viscount  Hinchingbrooke Viscount Hinchingbrooke , Dorset Southern 12:00 am, 17th June 1947

I should have thought it was for the Government to say that the expected fuel crisis—and I am perfectly certain we shall have one as a result of the Government's policy—bore directly upon coal, and not upon the electricity stations. I understand from what the Chancellor has said that he is making no differentiation between gas and electricity in regard to water heaters. I take it from that, that he thinks the electricity stations cannot stand it. If that is the case, there is then a further point to be considered in the argument put forward by the hon. Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson). The Chancellor said that water heaters were wasteful. They are not wasteful thermally, as I understand it. An element is inserted into an existing tank, it is encased in material to make it heat proof, and it conserves its heat, except, of course when the water is drawn off. If the hon. Member for West Ealing suffers nom his particular installation it must be because it has been inefficiently installed, and has not been properly protected. The water heater is not wasteful in that sense. A certain number of units of electricity are put through the element, and the water is heated a certain number of degrees. It may be expensive in the consumption of electricity, as the hon. and gallant Member for Lichfield (Major Poole) has just said it is; but, as I understand it, the Chancellor is not basing his argument on the expense of the electricity. I hope he will consider seriously taking further technical advice on this matter in order to see whether he cannot give way in this direction.