Oil Supplies

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

The hon. Gentleman says that he thinks that the public want the Government to dictate. It is my view that the public do not want that and, indeed, expressed their wish against dictation of that kind in recent opportunities at the polls.

The hon. Member asks "Is it not desirable to go for some system of rationing?" [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Does he not realise that the cost of following such a path would involve at least 2,000 extra civil servants and an extra £1½ million per month in salaries? As regards the multinational oil companies, which he believes are at the centre of this, let me explain to him again that the system I found when I arrived in this job on 4 May included not only the traditional oil suppliers but a new major oil company—the BNOC. That company is also a major influence on supplies to the British market. If the hon. Gentleman is going to start complaining about oil companies and their behaviour, he should be even-handed and look at the behaviour of all oil companies in the present complex with which we have to deal.