asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that the cut in capital investment on the distribution of electricity supply has resulted in the serious curtailment of electricity schemes of development in rural areas; and whether he will consider restoring at least part of this capital investment in order to relieve hardship to farmers and others in these areas.
I am aware that the present restrictions on capital investment must prevent the area boards from extending their rural supplies as fast as both they and their prospective consumers would like. But the bringing of supplies to the more remote rural population is only one of the many forms of capital investment which will be increased as soon as the country can afford it.
Can the Minister tell us when he hopes to be able to make this increase?
Rural extensions are going on all the time, though not as fast as I should like. As the situation gets easier, we shall do more.
Is not this cut in the investment programme very disadvantageous to the development of British industry?
It is, of course, very regrettable, but I must remind the hon. Member that the Opposition demanded much greater cuts last autumn.
Is the Minister aware that there are places in rural parts of Essex, quite near London, which were told that they could get a supply before nationalisation took place, and have now been told that they cannot have it?
Unfortunately, we have had a war.