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British Gas Corporation

Volume 13: debated on Monday 23 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy when next he proposes to meet the chairman of the British Gas Corporation to discuss the privatisation programme for the corporation.


asked the Secretary of State for Energy when next he expects to meet the chairman of the British Gas Corporation 10 discuss privatisation proposals for the corporation.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have discussed the Government's privatisation plans with Sir Denis Rooke on several occasions and expect to meet him again in the near future.

How does my hon. Friend and his right hon. Friend propose securing for independent gas producers access to British Gas pipelines so that they can deliver their supplies to British consumers? How does he propose preventing Sir Denis Rooke, for whose business ability I have considerable admiration, from delaying implementation of the privatisation programme until after the next general election?

The common carrier provisions must apply to the private as to well as the public sector. I cannot imagine that a public servant of the quality of Sir Denis Rooke would seek to delay implementation of the Government's will once the legislation is on the statute book.

As a result of these discussions, is the Secretary of State going to sack Sir Denis Rooke?

Discussions are continuing, but I am sure that I can speak for the Secretary of State and say "No".

Following the Government's decision to delay the sale of gas showrooms, may I ask whether they will now abandon the scheme in view of the concern that exists among consumers?

The Government have made clear their view on the nature of, and need to implement, proper safety provisions. The problem of monopoly uncovered by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report remains and must be tackled.