§ 2. Mr. Ridsdale
asked the Minister of Public Building and Works which Departments were chiefly responsible for the increase of £1,050,000 above the original estimate for 1967–68 for electrical, gas and water charges; and what steps he has taken to economise in the use of lighting and fuel in Government Departments.
§ Mr. Mellish
Most of the increase is due to tariff increases and most of the balance to additional accommodation approved after the annual estimates were settled. As many offices are occupied by more than one Department I could not say without a special inquiry how much of the increase is attributable to each Department. There are standing instructions about economy and my Ministry sends out reminders from time to time.
§ Mr. Ridsdale
Why are the Government being so extravagant at a time when everyone is having such difficulty in paying their extra gas, electricity, and fuel bills? Surely the right hon. Gentleman should persuade the Prime Minister to cut back the number of civil servants, and the extra Government Departments?
§ Mr. Mellish
The hon. Gentleman may be interested to learn that for each Government building the Department concerned is asked to appoint an officer in charge. It is his duty to control the consumption of fuel. Advice is also given in the instructions on the way in which the staff can help. To assist the hon. Gentleman I shall send him a copy of the instructions we send to the officers. He will see that we are very much on the ball.