Gas (Supply and Demand)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:51 pm on 14th March 2006.

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Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey Shadow Secretary of State (Trade and Industry), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Trade and Industry) 3:51 pm, 14th March 2006

Given that this is the first time that National Grid has ever warned British industry that gas supplies may be shut off, does the Secretary of State regret the fact that the Minister for Energy told the House only last November that the UK was "awash with gas"? What will the right hon. Gentleman say to the thousands of employees laid off because of the recent hikes in gas prices? Have the Government not been negligently complacent about Britain's gas crisis, especially the lack of gas storage infrastructure? When Germany has storage facilities for 75 days and France for 66 days, is the right hon. Gentleman not just a little embarrassed that without Rough the UK has storage capacity for only 12 days?

Rather than listing excuses, as the Secretary of State has done today, will he confirm that Ministers were warned about the danger several times in recent years? Is not it the case that if we had those extra facilities, gas prices for UK industry would be lower today and the alert would not have taken place?