Fuel Industries (Advertising)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Power – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr Paul Rose Mr Paul Rose , Manchester, Blackley 12:00 am, 25th May 1965

asked the Minister of Power what steps he is taking to curb unnecessary competition in advertising between the gas and electricity industries and to create a co-ordinated advertising policy according to the best interests of the two industries and the national economy as a whole.

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

The scale of advertising by the nationalised fuel industries is largely a matter for the boards and councils concerned. I am, however, keeping the position under review.

Photo of Mr Paul Rose Mr Paul Rose , Manchester, Blackley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the advertising costs of each of these two industries rose during the last five years of Conservative Administration by more than £1 million in each case? Is this not conclusive evidence that this competition between two go-ahead nationalised industries is getting out of control? Will my right hon. Friend take action to relate advertising to a co-ordinated fuel sales policy?

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

It is a nice point that my hon. Friend has made, and we must watch it, but I remind him that both industries compete with oil as well as with each other. As to the point he made about advertising, in 1963 Press and television advertising alone for all products in Britain cost more than £200 million, whereas for these industries the costs were for gas, £3·3 million, and for electricity, £2·9 million.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

Would the Minister agree that while it seems reasonable for his hon. Friends to ask questions about gas and electricity, hon. Members on this side of the House are reprimanded from the back benches opposite when we ask questions about coal? Why should we be debarred from asking questions about coal when—

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

Order. It cannot be for the Minister to make pronouncements on these matters.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Wanstead and Woodford

Would the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the views of his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) who suggested that the consumers should ultimately be deprived of choice, which obviously postulates a high degree of advertising?

Hon. Members: