asked the Minister of Power what steps he is taking, in view of the rapid increase in the sales of gas, to bring about more realistic competition with electricity by placing both industries in the same fiscal position in the matter of expected return on capital.
This is a matter for consideration as part of the review I am conducting of fuel policy. The results of that review will be taken into account when the existing five-year financial objectives come up for reexamination.
I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Would he not agree that if there is to be realistic competition between the secondary fuel industries they should carry roughly equal financial burdens and that the electricity industry is at present carrying more than the gas industry?
I appreciate what my hon. Friend has in mind, but in the terms of the White Paper on the Financial and Economic Obligations of the Nationalised Industries certain objectives were agreed in consultation with each industry for an experimental period of five years, which ends in May, 1967. It would not be advantageous to attempt to change those objectives during the course of that five-year period.