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Orders of the Day — Electricity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:36 pm on 13th December 1988.

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Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy) 9:36 pm, 13th December 1988

Nine tenths of the industry is English and Welsh electricity. It is worth making that point in the context of all the barracking by Scottish Members. It is rubbish to say that there will be no competition in Scotland and, if the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I shall tell him precisely why.

It is true that the massive investment programme which lies ahead will have to be paid for. In the present circumstances, the bills for that can be shared only between the consumer and the taxpayer. Someone has to pay for this massive investment. In future, the shareholder will join in the risk and, of course, will expect to receive dividends in return for doing so. We shall certainly not permit the supply companies to pass through into prices all the cost increases that they incur. They will therefore have the incentive to contract as efficiently as possible for future generating capacity.

Several hon. Members have argued that we should not have made special provisions for nuclear power. [Interruption.]