Metering Trials Schemes

Part of Clause 4 – in the House of Commons at 10:47 pm on 4th May 1988.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Matthew Taylor Matthew Taylor Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy) 10:47 pm, 4th May 1988

I am sure that hon. Members on both sides will welcome the amendment, which was pressed on many occasions in Committee. It represents a substantial part of the case that we put forward. As such, we welcome it, and I am sure that the Labour party will do the same.

We still have serious concerns about the impact that metering may have on individuals and about differentials. I am a little sad that there has not been a further amendment to cover the point made about protection for individuals who may be worse off under the metering trials than if they had not been imposed on them. The Minister said that he would consider that point. This measure is a second-best, but it is welcome. I hope that the Minister will take advantage of the opportunity presented by any schemes that are proposed.

I represent one of the few boards that will not have metering trial schemes. People in my area are not entirely disinterested since, if the Government press ahead with the schemes, many will be directly affected. I hope that amendments along these lines will be viewed in similar terms when other proposals come before the House. The guarantees written into the Bill will apply to only a minority of the population—those involved in the schemes—but, if the schemes are extended, many more people will be worried about the possible effects of compulsory metering. I give a cautious welcome to the amendment. I am sure that there will not be opposition to it.