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 Alan Johnson Alan Johnson Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 3:51 pm, 14th March 2006

It is undoubtedly the case that in continental Europe there are far more contract supplies of gas and energy. In this country, the position was similar until recently. More companies have decided to buy on the spot market, and who can blame them, as it was producing gas at 22p a therm only 18 months to two years ago? In Europe there are more contractual supplies than in the UK, but across Europe we need transparency, as my hon. Friend Paddy Tipping said, and a liberalised market. If we can achieve that, we can ensure that instead of having national champions—a system pursued by many European Union countries—we have consumer champions producing the low energy costs that we have enjoyed in this country for many years.