asked the Secretary of State for Energy what were the sales of gas and electricity, respectively, in value terms in the latest year for which figures are available; what would have been the revenue from the imposition of value added tax at 15 per cent. on such sales; and how these amounts compare with the estimated gross profit of these two industries in 1980–81 as a result of the directives that have been issued.
The total sales of gas and electricity in value terms in 1978–79 were £2,524 million for the British Gas Corporation and £5,093 million for the electricity supply industry in England and Wales. It is estimated that VAT charged at the current rate of 15 per cent. on the domestic use of gas and electricity in 1978–79 would have been about £220 million and £325 million respectively. The pre-tax profit of British Gas in 1980–81 is expected to be of the order of £600 million. The electricity supply industry's profit will depend on movements in its fuel and other costs and it is too early to estimate how these will move in 1980–81.