asked the Minister of Power if he will take steps to give the Gas Boards the right to check the setting of sub-meters, and to empower the Boards to take the necessary legal action against landlords who overcharge sub-tenants for the use of gas, and thus remove the onus of such action from sub-consumers.
Mr. John Morris
Maximum resale prices for gas have been fixed for some years, but there has been little evidence of overcharging. Before considering the introduction of further legislation, my right hon. Friend would need to be convinced that the present arrangements were not working satisfactorily.
Is my hon. Friend aware that on numerous occasions in recent months the chairmen of consultative councils have in fact provided the Minister with adequate evidence that this over-charging goes on and that there are many thousands of people throughout the country who are being exploited by rotten landlords who find that this is a cheap method of adding some extras to their rent? Does not my hon. Friend consider that this is adequate evidence to justify taking some action now, as has been done in the case of electricity?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I understand that he is dealing with gas. If he has any particulars, my right hon. Friend and myself will be most grateful to receive them. If consumers do not send them to us, they may send them to the consultative councils. I assure my hon. Friend that if action is needed it will be taken.