§ 15. Dr. Godman
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the current effectiveness of the Gas Consumers Council's monitoring of the level of service given by the privatised utilities. 
§ Dr. Godman
As my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Gerrard) pointed out earlier, last May Ministers promised to help British Gas to improve its service record. Why, then, has there been a doubling in the number of complaints to the Gas Consumers Council since that date? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there appears to be a "couldn't care less" attitude among senior British Gas managers to complaints from consumers? That is certainly the experience of many of my constituents. Surely that is not the right attitude to take, especially to the problems faced by our elderly constituents.
§ Mr. Page
I share the hon. Gentleman's disappointment that the number of complaints has risen by such a large amount. Having said that, I understand that British Gas management has responded positively and drafted in more staff and put in more telephone lines. I also understand that the rate of complaint in December was 36 per cent. lower than the rate at the start of 1995. Progress is being made.