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Orders of the Day — Electricity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:12 pm on 13th December 1988.

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Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 9:12 pm, 13th December 1988

May I continue?

In October 1987, in a television interview, Lord Marshall described the British nuclear power industry. For perhaps the first time since the nuclear industry had been set up in Britain, people who knew about it were beginning to tell the truth.

In "Brass Tacks" on BBC—I hope it is not too difficult for Conservative Members to accept that we still have a British Broadcasting Corporation—the interviewer referred to a letter that had been sent by the CEGB to the "Stop Sizewell B" campaign in December 1986 which said that Magnox stations had been saving consumers about £250 million a year. In answer to a question, Lord Marshall said: You are correct to say on the Magnox stations as a whole, whether or not Magnox has been an economic bargain or not in the narrow sense does depend on their performance in the future and the price of coal in the future, so in that sense it's jam tomorrow. The interviewer then said: And that's also true of the AGRs? Lord Marshall replied: That is bound to be the case because we've only got some of them working just in the last few years. If even the most ardent supporter of nuclear power accepts its failure, why will not the Government?

The Bill contains a nuclear levy and tax. Will the Secretary of State for "Nuclear" Energy tell us exactly what the nuclear levy in clause 31 is for? Is it to finance the expensive Magnox and AGR costs now and the PWR costs in future? Does it also include the cost of building the new family of PWRs? What is clause 31 for?