Electricity Industry

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 20th February 1990.

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Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon 4:45 pm, 20th February 1990

I wish to finish this point. I shall give way in a moment. I may clarify some of the points that the hon. Gentleman wishes to raise.

The simple truth, demonstrated by the Opposition motion, is that the Labour party is confused. As usual, Labour Members want it both ways. They oppose the tough line that we have taken with the coal industry, which has resulted in the stabilisation of prices. They oppose the necessity of raising the return on the assets employed in the electricity supply industry, although the return has still not reached the 5 per cent. that they themselves set when they were in power.

The fact is that prices would not be any lower if electricity remained in the public sector, and for many consumers they would be a good deal higher. The reality is that the pressures on the electricity supply industry will all be to hold or reduce prices as competition develops. That will be good news for the consumer.