Electricity Privatisation (Advisers)

Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1989.

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Photo of Mr Brian Sedgemore Mr Brian Sedgemore , Hackney South and Shoreditch 12:00 am, 24th July 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will accept the recommendation of the Energy Select Committee that the terms of remuneration of each adviser he has employed on electricity privatisation should be provided to the Select Committee.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will publish a statement on the responsibilities, selection, basis of remuneration and method of contract appraisal of the advisers he is currently employing on work related to the privatisation of the electricity supply industry.

Photo of Mr Cecil Parkinson Mr Cecil Parkinson , Hertsmere

As the hon. Member knows, we give careful consideration to all recommendations made by the Select Committee on Energy. The Government will give their considered response in due course.

Photo of Mr Brian Sedgemore Mr Brian Sedgemore , Hackney South and Shoreditch

Bearing in mind the fact that last year the Government spent £6 million on advisers' fees—the equivalent of employing 220 people—and that this year they intend to spend the equivalent of employing 870 advisers, it is not scandalous that Parliament is not given the information that it needs to decide whether it is getting value for money? Vast sums are being paid to Kleinwort Benson and Slaughter and May for doing God knows what and for God knows how much.

Photo of Mr Cecil Parkinson Mr Cecil Parkinson , Hertsmere

We are embarking on the huge enterprise of privatising and restructuring this massive industry. Although that information is not made available in detail to the Select Committee on Energy, it is of course available in total to the National Audit Office, which has the right and the duty to examine every item of public expenditure and say whether the Government are getting good value for money. Parliament is being accounted to, in the way that it requests, through the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee.