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"Save It" Campaign

Volume 889: debated on Monday 7 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement about the results of his "Save It" campaign.

My officials will shortly be assessing the first results of a scientific survey into the impact of the advertising during the launch phase of the campaign which opened on 20th January. I am, however satisfied from the evidence of interest by the Press, radio, television and public that the campaign has already made a substantial impact.

I am planning to develop the campaign during the spring and summer at a cost in advertising of £1.8 million. The main thrust of the campaign will be to persuade the public to improve the insulation in their homes.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the good sense and tone of his campaign compared with the panicky "Switch off something" and "Clean your teeth in the dark" which we had last year. Is not my right hon. Friend afraid, however, that people will get used to his campaign, just as they have got used to the Government's health warning on cigarette packets?

I hope not, because 1 believe that those, such as my hon. Friend, who have taken an interest in the campaign feel that it is well worth while, and it is already having a substantial impact. Energy consumption is down already, and I hope to be able to give the House some figures shortly.

Disregarding the complacency of the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Huckfield), is the Secretary of State satisfied that shops, offices and hospitals are yet making nearly enough savings on heating? If not, what will he do about it?

I hope that the survey will reveal what further needs to be done, and I shall not hesitate to take any action which I regard as necessary.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that motorists are almost entirely disregarding the speed limits which were regarded as part of the campaign to save energy and that anyone with a car of more than 950 cc engine capacity seems to be motoring at the highest speed which his engine allows? Does not my right hon. Friend feel that a call ought to go out from him and from the House that people should observe the limits, not because it is a criminal offence to break them but because it is a national necessity to observe them?

It is a necessity to observe them, and I should be sorry if people were disregarding the law in such circumstances. I have no evidence that the law is being avoided to that great extent. Perhaps it would be helpful if I gave the House some statistics showing that energy consumption has gone down. For example, total energy consumption in 1974 was 4½ per cent. down on 1973. Oil consumption in 1974 was down by over 6½ per cent. compared with 1973. There is a lot more evidence to suggest that savings have been made.

In view of the mild winter, of rising unemployment and of the stagnant economy, why does the right hon. Gentleman think that his figures have anything to do with his Save It "campaign?

The right hon. Gentleman has constantly criticised the "Save It" campaign. I am always loth to criticise him in view of his fine record in energy conservation, but it is about time he started helping the Government in their conservation campaign instead of constantly carping and criticising.