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 Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Parliamentary Leader, Leader, Scottish National Party 3:51 pm, 14th March 2006

Does the Minister accept that it is little consolation for consumers facing sky-high prices and major users facing interruptions in supply to be told by the Minister that yesterday's announcement is part of a grand master plan that is working exactly as it should? Is it not weak-kneed and feeble to claim that a fire in a single installation can bring the UK gas market into chaos and disarray? When will the Government accept responsibility for the lack of capacity in the system and the lack of investment, principally caused by Ofgem, which has delayed Norwegian supplies to this country? Why, with 24 discovered but underdeveloped gas fields west of Scotland, have the Government imposed a 10 per cent. supplementary charge on pipeline infrastructure, which has delayed their development? Does the Minister think that that is a good idea, in the circumstances?