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Fuel Economy Appliances

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will introduce legislation to enable him to require the installation of only approved domestic fuel economising appliances in all new housing construction and what steps he is taking to substitute, where practicable, in such new housing construction, approved gas space-heating appliances instead of electric space-heating appliances.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 19th February to the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton).

Can my right hon. Friend say unequivocally that all new houses being built—100 per cent. of new housing construction, whether for private sale or for local authority letting—now have installed in them only modern appliances in the way of solid fuel-burning grates?

We do everything we can by advice and persuasion, but we still believe in the freedom of the local authority to accept that advice, and I should prefer to work under that system.

While we ought not to impinge on the rights of local authorities in this and other matters, is there not something to be said for Government action as regards the provision of modern fuel appliances in order to economise in fuel?

Yes, Sir. It is being done and it is working very successfully, but I would rather get 97 per cent. without compulsion than 100 per cent. with compulsion.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the answer that he gave on 19th February—I have a copy of it here —makes no reference whatever to the second part of my Question which specifically inquires in regard to the installation of gas space-heating appliances in preference to electric space-heating appliances?

If the object of the Question is to suggest that I should advise people to have a gas space-heating appliance instead of an electric space-heating appliance, I do not propose to do that.

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the increased supplies of iron and steel for improved domestic stoves and grates are maintained at the level which was agreed last autumn?

We are doing everything we can in this matter. I am naturally as anxious as the right hon. Gentleman is, but I am not anxious to apply compulsion if I can obtain the results by persuasion. I feel certain that the supplies can be maintained, and I think we may even add to them.