Electricity Charges (Payment of Arrears and Deposits)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Stirling and Falkirk Burghs 12:00 am, 2nd February 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received regarding the effect on social work departments of the local authorities' policies introduced by the South of Scotland Electricity Board relating to payment of arrears and the deposits required from new consumers.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfriesshire

The Association of Directors of Social Work has represented to my right hon. Friend that social work departments are having to spend a considerable amount of time looking into cases of families which claim to be in financial difficulty over electricity supply.

Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Stirling and Falkirk Burghs

Does not the Under-Secretary accept, against the background of that answer, that he should approach the South of Scotland Electricity Board in the same manner as the electricity boards here in England have been approached, to ask the board to reconsider its attitude towards payments of arrears and deposits required? I appreciate the position of the board and I know of the bad debts it has at the present time. I am only asking the hon. Gentleman to consider that an approach

because they are recommended by lawyers, however worthy they may be?

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

There have been recommendations for changes in the law, but changes in the law involve this House and, therefore, the recommendations, when they come forward in legislation, will be considered on their merits in this House.

Following is the list of reports dealing with law reform, showing reports not yet implemented or implemented in part only:

should be made to the board to reconsider its policy.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfriesshire

The hon. Gentleman knows that this is a very difficult problem. The bad debts of the South of Scotland Electricity Board are running at around £400,000 per year and they have to be carried by those consumers who do pay their accounts. Consultations are going on between the local authorities and the board, and I hope that a solution can be found to help in this difficult situation.