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New Clause—(Costs Of Standardisation Of Frequency)

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 6 May 1943

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After the date of the passing of this Act any authorised undertaker within the North of Scotland District who prior to that date had not received a supply of electricity directly or indirectly from the Central Electricity Board shall cease to be under any liability to make contribution towards any sums paid by the Electricity Commissioners to that Board pursuant to Sub-section (3) of Section nine of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1926.—[ Mr. Henderson Stewart.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause deals with a very simple point. When the Central Electricity Board set about the standardisation of frequency the expenditure of a great deal of money was involved. The Board paid it and are getting the money returned through payments by various undertakings. That is all right generally in practice and in theory, but in some parts of Scotland the people who are to pay this cost are at an obvious disadvantage. They will get no advantage, and it seems wrong to ask them to go on paying. Therefore I think we might make the slight alteration I suggest.

I am afraid that it would hardly be possible to deal with this matter in this Bill. The position is that, rightly o wrongly, Parliament in 1926 decided that the very considerable expense of standardisation of frequency and so on in various areas should be spread over the whole country and should not be borne by the precise areas where the standardisation was necessary. Therefore, there were many areas other than those in the Highlands which got no direct benefit, although they had to contribute to this cost of standardisation. It is not as though the expenditure was something not yet incurred. The money has been spent, and the question is, Who is to pay it? If we release various authorities in the North of Scotland from their obligations, the only result will be that that money has to be added to the burdens of other authorities in other parts of the country. I do not think it is altogether just to use the occurrence of this Bill as a reason for taking debts already incurred off the shoulders of certain authorities in the North and putting them on other authorities in the South. Therefore, I regret that I cannot accept the Clause.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Clause.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.