§ The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. John Davies)
In accordance with last Thursday's statement by my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry, the directions prohibiting the use of electricity by industry on three weekdays and on Sundays were revoked with effect from midnight last night. Industry, however, like other consumers, is still subject to rota disconnections and I hope it will be possible for a further statement on the future of these and other restrictions to be made before the end of this week.—[Vol. 831, c. 1505.]
§ Mr. Lane
Is it not clear that inconvenience to the community has been minimised by the superb work of those engaged in electricity supply and by the adaptability of industry generally? Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Government's decision to give priority to industry during this recovery period is widely accepted by the public?
§ Mr. Davies
Yes, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I would add that the work which has been done in shifting coal from pithead sites to the generating industry has also been a remarkable achievement. The reasons for deciding to stress the earliest possible return to work by industry, even in preference to the interests of household consumers are well known to the House.
§ Mr. Skinner
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that even while picketing was 3 in progress, conversions were taking place at four power stations in the North and that equipment was being smuggled in to allow conversion to oil? [An HON. MEMBER: "Quite right, too."] I understand the hon. Member's feelings. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, if it is not made abundantly clear by the Government and the C.E.G.B. together that this oil conversion is of a temporary and not of a permanent nature, further picketing will take place and there will be further trouble for the Secretary of State and for the Government?
§ Mr. Davies
No; all those proposals are entirely wide of the mark. There is a later Question on this matter on the Order paper.