Oil Supplies

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th June 1979.

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Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford 12:00 am, 11th June 1979

The right hon. Member knows that the particular problems in his own constituency are ones to which I have given special attention. While the Government are perfectly prepared to take decisions, we do not believe that the answer to every problem is to spend more taxpayers' money and to increase planning. Our aim, as I said very clearly in the statement, is to meet particular customer problems wherever they are raised. We are doing that and we are meeting them swiftly. That is why I mentioned the right hon. Gentleman's constituency. There are other constituencies and other areas where particular problems have arisen. We have moved to help them.

There was mention earlier of British Rail. The Government intervened there, and as a result essential services have not been cut. The only cuts made were ones that would probably have had to be made anyway in the light of sensible economy. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] The reality must be faced that the shortfall of oil will affect all users of oil and oil products throughout the economy. That has to be faced. If there are attempts by the Opposition or by the country to push us into working out particular priorities, others who are not lucky enough to be in the priority areas will suffer, and suffer severely. With the present level of shortfall, that would not make sense.