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Mr. Wallace : It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes). There is certainly no conservation of energy in the spirited way in which he delivers his contributions, and I am sure that the House commends him for that.
Hon. Members have highlighted the great contribution that conservation of energy can make. Some examples have been given, not least by my hon. Friend for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) and by the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) who highlighted the ways in which energy conservation can make a valuable contribution.
Column 395About eight or nine years ago somebody suggested that if all the money up to that time spent on Britain's nuclear industry had been spent on thatching roofs the amount of energy conserved would have been equivalent to the amount of energy generated by nuclear power. That example is by way of illustration rather than a prescription, but it underlines the great importance of energy conservation. It is important not only in terms of the stewardship of our resources but because of the benefits that it can bring.
It has often struck me as quite telling that many elderly people and people on benefit who receive benefit through the post could well save much money by the simple operation of insulating their homes. Such a policy has a strong environmental base. My hon. Friend the Member for Gordon spoke about the importance of low-cost planning. A case can be made for that in economic terms, but it does not take into account the important environmental benefit.
I had hoped that the Government would be sympathetic at least to the ideas put forward in the Bill even if they were not sympathetic to the amendments and new clauses 7 and 12. We should have been able to hope for some positive response. If amendments were technically deficient, the Government could have said that they would bring forward correct ones in another place. The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Moss) put his finger on the real point when he spoke about the Bonneville Power Administration. He accepted that that company had shown what could be done through investment and energy conservation. In an intervention, my hon. Friend the Member for Gordon said that that had not been done as a result of the company's own free will but that someone had had to prompt the company to do it. That is what is behind the new clauses. Energy conservation has not been practised in the past and the record shows that it will not happen in future. We need someone to give companies a prod, and we propose a deputy director general of electricity supply who will be able to do that. That will ensure that the electricity supply industry takes into account the great savings and the contribution that can be made by energy conservation. My hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) spoke about new clause 17. We want to see a deputy director general of electricity supply with special responsibility for rural areas. I acknowledge that a common tariff will be charged throughout the area of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. That is welcome, especially in my constituency. Our new clause would add to the duties of our proposed deputy director a duty for boards to have regard to the social and economic requirements of the area served by the various supply boards. That requirement currently exists in the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board but it will disappear if the Bill becomes law.
The disappearance of such a statutory duty is regrettable. The Government have sought to justify it by saying that there will be a common tariff, and that is fair enough. Secondly, they have said that there are now other bodies charged with responsibility for economic and social development. Too much cannot be done to try to promote the economic and social development of areas with special geographic problems such as the Highlands and Islands. Most places in the Highlands and Islands are now connected to the electricity supply. It is fair to acknowledge that that has been done with assistance from
Column 396the uneconomic rural development programme. However, some people are still not connected to the main electricity supply.
One of my constituents comes regularly to see me. In 1985 he was given a tentative quote by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board that it would cost £10,500 to connect him to the main supply. He was told that connection would have to take place at the end of the uneconomic rural development programme. More recently he sought an estimate and was told that the cost would be £60,000. I am talking about an elderly couple living in croft property in Orkney and the wife is an invalid. They have a generator but it cannot be operated for 24 hours a day and that means that they lose the benefits of refrigeration and night storage heating. It would be of great value to those people if their property could be connected to the mains supply. I agree that in some conservation areas planning permission is not likely to be given for overhead wires, and underground cables are much more costly. I do not know how anyone could reasonably expect an elderly pensioner couple to find £60,000 for vital supplies.
I am told that under the crofting grants scheme the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Scotland can offer a £600 grant and a loan of £600. Clearly, that is not enough. I have asked the Minister of State, Scottish Office to see whether there is any way in which assistance can be offered. I wrote to him some time ago, but he has not yet replied. I do not criticise him for that because I am sure that he realises the seriousness of the problem although I doubt whether he can find a way around it.
New clause 17 seeks to ensure the possibility of every domestic household being connected to the main supply. That should be done at a cost that is within the means of the vast majority of people. While the tariff is common throughout the north of Scotland there are no guarantees for any other part of Scotland or for the rest of the United Kingdom. Will the Minister tell us what he understands by the word "tariff"? Does it mean the standing charge? Does it include charges for repair or a call-out charge? While one would not expect connection charges to be identical throughout an area there should be at least some common basis on which charges are calculated, such as happens at the moment for wayleave payments.
The quality of the supply and especially the quality of the repair service are vital in remote rural areas and cannot be measured in terms of pounds and pence. Those things cannot be left on trust. We need a person with responsibility for looking after the provision of the electricity supply in rural areas. That would ensure that when the supply was cut, not least because of inclement weather, there would be someone to put pressure on the electricity supply industry to ensure a proper and adequate response. No one expects overnight miracles, but without additional prompting the quality of the electricity supply to rural areas could seriously diminish. That is why I commend the new clause to the House.
Mr. Eric Illsley (Barnsley, Central) : I want to make one point about the Grimethorpe fluidised bed plant because that plant stands at the edge of my constituency. As several hon. Members have said, the funding for the continuation of that plant's experiments has been under threat for several months.
Column 397Only yesterday, British Coal gave evidence to the Select Committee on Energy that £12 million would be necessary to continue the experiments. As British Coal has attracted private investment from a foreign company in Finland called Ahlstro"m, we should like a commitment from the Minister about future funding. I understand that the decision could be delayed until after September because of the public expenditure allocations. If the money is delayed until then, the plant will have to close. Already jobs have been lost at the plant in the sense that some key personnel have gone abroad to work on similar schemes. Those jobs were in and around my constituency. I want the Minister to consider British Coal's request for a sign that the funding will be forthcoming even if that means waiting for the cash until September.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. Michael Spicer) : I want to answer three specific points before I set out thGovernment's general position. We agree entirely with the Opposition about the very important subject of energy conservation and its relationship to the Bill.
Having designated today as "environment day"--I am not sure whether that is official--the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) said that we had cut the Energy Efficiency Office budget. He said that we would presumably be left with a massive generalised advertising campaign. The sneer with which he made that point--perhaps sneer is too strong a word ; rather, his pained tone--showed that he thought that that would be a waste of money. I assure him that the cuts have taken place precisely because we cut the generalised advertising budget. We have replaced that large generalised budget, which we agree with the hon. Gentleman is not the best way to convey the message, with a much more cost-effective advisory programme targeted at specific major users. We think, and I suspect from the comments made by the hon. Member for Sedgefield that he would agree, that that is the best way to convey the message.
The hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) has just popped out of the Chamber so perhaps his colleagues will pass my comments on to him. He raised the matter of common tariffs. The privatised public electricity supply companies, the present area boards, will maintain the present structure for five years after flotation if that takes place in 1990. Ultimately we cannot prevent companies from charging tariffs which relate to costs. However, powers will be given to the director general under the terms of the Bill to enable him to ensure that tariffs relate to costs and are not excessive or in any way an abuse of a company's power. That new protection for consumers will exist in the Bill.
Mr. Wallace : The Minister said that there was no way in which the Government could enforce a particular stucture. However, I understand that they will enforce the common tariff structure for the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. If it is possible to do it there, why is it impossible to do it in the rest of the country? Is the Minister backtracking from the commitments given about the north of Scotland?
Mr. Spicer : I did not say that there was no way in which we could do it. I said that there is no way in which we would want to do it. Very special circumstances apply in the north of Scotland in terms of its geography and the way in which it is supplied with
electricity--primarily through hydro. The Government felt that there were exceptional circumstances in the north of Scotland. Generally we would not wish to distort the market by insisting on common tariffs. In answer to the point raised by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) about his constituent, I can tell him that my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Scottish Office has taken that on board and has had a word with the hon. Gentleman. My hon. Friend will look into the matter. Under the terms of the Bill, if the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland was distressed about a particular charge for connection imposed on a constituent, he could involve the director general in determining whether that charge was correct. In that respect, the Bill is an improvement for the consumer.
It is easy to agree with almost every speech ; turning lights on and generating heat involves processes which, with the exception of certain nuclear and renewable technologies, deplete the world stock of natural resources and, with no exceptions, have potential detrimental effects on the environment. The difficult part about this debate is to agree on what to do about it.
The thrust of the amendments is to rely on measures aimed at conserving energy. The most illiberal of those proposals is contained, as is sadly often the case these days, in the amendments of the old Liberal party. Those proposals relate to giving the regulator powers of direction and intervention to ensure, for example, that no new plant is developed unless a deputy director for conservation is satisfied that it meets certain conservationist criteria. The Democrats have gone over the top with new clause 17 which the Chair has allowed us to refer to. That new clause has been popping on and off the Amendment Paper over the past 24 hours like a
New clause 17 proposes a rural supremo. Perhaps the Liberals can have a word with Mr. Gorbachev while he is in town. He is trying to withdraw his supremos from the countryside. The proposal for a deputy director for conservation and one for the countryside leads us to wonder why we do not have deputy directors for small houses, large houses, mothers or babies. We do not believe in that kind of interventionism. There is no way in which we can accept the new clause.
The Labour amendment proposes that a director should set annual targets for energy efficiency. Before we rush down that path of central direction and control, we should ask ourselves what is the precise purpose of conservation. Two distinct objectives have been mentioned so far and each of them may require distinct policies. The first objective of conservation, as suggested by several hon. Members, is to make better use of scarce resources. The Government view on that is clearly different from that of the other political parties. Rather than use the instruments of central direction we shall provide the variety and the market conditions that will allow for advancing resource-efficient ways of producing power. In an excellent speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Moss) stressed that particular point.
Mr. Blair : The Minister makes the extraordinary argument that he has some inhibition about central control, whereas he is setting up a panoply of regulation in the public interest that will interfere with the industry in many ways. Suppose that the interests of the market and of the environment conflict. Is the Minister prepared to interfere with the market to uphold the interests of the environment?
Mr. Spicer : I shall be dealing with such matters soon. I am trying to distinguish between the different thrusts of our argument, and perhaps I should not have given way. I shall be stressing that when it comes to environmental questions, the Government have a panoply of arguments. For the moment, I am talking about making better use of resources. Quite often, the Labour party engages in generalised rhetoric without explaining what it has in mind. We believe that it is better to focus on what we are proposing to achieve in the area of conservation. That is one of the reasons why we introduced the non-fossil fuel obligation, which the Opposition have so derided. Nuclear power is certainly resource efficient, as are renewable sources of energy. It appears to have escaped the attention of the Opposition that last night we announced a special provision for renewables within the non-fossil fuel obligation. For the first time ever--and no one disputes this--the Bill gives the regulator the duty to promote efficiency. Above all, in the context of making better use of natural resources, the Bill radically restructures the industry, to allow energy-efficient producers to come on to the system. I have no doubt that that will happen, and the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) agreed that such producers will come on to the system as a consequence of our proposed restructuring.
Plans for combined cycle gas-fired stations, for new technology coal-fired plants, and even for smaller nuclear power stations are, as a direct result of the Bill, appearing in their legions as proposals with genuine prospects of being implemented. My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, North- East was also absolutely correct in that respect.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : The Minister is in danger of confusing himself. He said that he would move on to speak about environmental issues as distinct from those of conservation, and therefore does not accept that conservation is an environmental issue. Also, he proceeds to tell the House about the list of generating investment that is to come, as if it were an instrument of conservation. Conservation is about reducing demand, and therefore about reducing the requirment for additional investment in generating capacity.
Mr. Spicer : The hon. Gentleman appears not to be listening as attentively as he normally does. He will see in Hansard tomorrow that I said that there are two functions of conservation. One deals with natural resources depletion, the other with the environment. We must be sure that we focus our policies in such a way that they will deal with both.
For the moment I am discussing resource depletion. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East pointed out, even the successor companies to the CEGB are beginning to adapt to the spirit of the new age created by the Bill--judging by the recent pronouncements of Mr. Robert Malpas, chairman-designate of PowerGen.
Column 400The second objective of energy conservation is to meet the growing and legitimate concern for our environment, notably in respect of the effects of acid rain, SO emissions, and the warming effect caused by CO . Our view, in contrast to that expressed by some hon. Members, is that we cannot rely solely on conservation measures to solve those problems. Demand for electricity is growing, and it is likely to continue increasing in all major industralised countries as consumers install new electrical processes and equipment. When the hon. Member for Gordon presents--as he did throughout the Committee
stage--conservation as his major policy, he must acknowledge that major international organisations such as the International Energy Agency and the European Commission forecast continuing growth in electricity demand throughout the Community, even after taking account of prospective efficiency gains.
A policy that wholly or largely relies on conservation--as does that of the hon. Member for Gordon from time to time, and, although I may be misinterpreting him, it is a policy which seems to be implicit at least in the Opposition's amendment--flies in the face of what is likely to occur in the next few years. Even allowing for conservation measures, demand is likely to grow. As we expect to be in government for the next 15 years, we cannot afford to theorise about those matters, and must be sure that the lights do not go out for old people and for the constituents we all represent. We must ensure that the growing demand for electricity is met while minimising the effects of that expansion on the environment. The key problems are how to achieve increased supply and not to rely exclusively on conservation to protect the environment. That is why the Government have introduced the tightest regulations ever to control SO emissions, for example, which will have to be reduced by 60 per cent. on 1980 levels by the year 2003.
The other day, I heard it reported on radio that the hon. Member for Sedgefield proposed setting up reduced emission targets that would include one for CO . As we do not yet have the technology for controlling CO emissions, I have to ask the hon. Gentleman whether that is an implicit reversal of Labour's anti-nuclear policy.
Mr. Spicer : If the hon. Gentleman meant conservation, I refer him to my earlier remarks, when I said that we must allow for the fact that demand will increase, even allowing for conservation. Targets related to CO are a nonsense, and the hon. Gentleman probably knows it.
It is right to search for clean coal technologies, and right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House are right to stress the need for it. That brings me to the future of Grimethorpe. We have spent £17 million of public money on Grimethorpe, and we are now trying to ensure that industry adopts the available technology, particularly that relating to the topping cycle. We place great emphasis on individual involvement, mainly because in that way we can ensure that when the technology is fully developed it will be used--as opposed to being just another piece of fancy research that does nothing more than pander to green rhetoric. We have a good chance of successfully finding such a combination of industrial involvement in the technology. I certainly spend much of my time ensuring that that involvement takes place.
Mr. Kevin Barron (Rother Valley) : If by the end of the public expenditure round in September or October of this year, industry cannot fund Grimethorpe, will the Government fund it to make sure that the topping cycle--we are a world leader in that technology--is continued in the autumn of this year?
Mr. Spicer : I cannot accept that. Even the hon. Member for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Illsley) accepted that the public expenditure round takes place in its own way. I cannot predict what submissions my Department might make to the Treasury or what the Treasury's response would be. I confirm that we are looking for industrial involvement in the project, for the good reason--not just the financial reason--that industrial involvement would mean that there would be a marketplace for the technology. It would not be sensible simply to pile in public money, in the absence of a genuine marketplace and take-up for the technology. Much public money has already been spent on Grimethorpe. If the hon. Gentleman thinks about it, he will understand that there has not been much take-up of the technologies.
We want to be sure that the development that takes place at Grimethorpe is taken up by industry. Industrial involvement is clearly the best way forward for Grimethorpe. We are certainly doing our best to ensure that there is such involvement.
There is a difference of approach between the Government and the Opposition parties on major matters of environmental controls and of conservation in particular.
Mr. Lofthouse : The Minister has already been informed by myself and other hon. Members that Mr. Malcolm Edwards made it clear yesterday that, by September, if there is no money from the Government, the Grimethorpe plant will be doomed. If that is the case, there would be little research into that technology in this country. Emergency measures must be taken by the Government to save Grimethorpe between now and September. Mr. Malcolm Edwards made it clear that he could not foresee any private sector money, apart from what has already been accepted, going into the scheme.
Mr. Spicer : I do not speak or answer for Mr. Malcolm Edwards. I answer for the Government. We are looking for industrial commitment to the technology, not because of funding but because we want the technology to be developed in such a way that it will be applied. That is a sensible way of going forward.
Mr. Allen McKay (Barnsley, West and Penistone) : As far as I can recollect, there have been field studies into industrial technology and other high-tech matters. Are the Government prepared to test the fluidised bed on a field basis to prove its viability?
Mr. Spicer : As the House already knows, there is considerable industrial involvement. We want to find more people to be involved, for the good reason that it will then be much more likely that the technology will be properly applied and used. We are not just spending money or keeping jobs in Grimethorpe. That is not the primary objective of even those hon. Members who represent constituents' interests. All hon. Members are concerned about developing a technology that will be applied to make the use of coal much more efficient, and particularly to affect carbon dioxide emission levels. One way in which
Column 402we can ensure that the technology is applied is to get the participation of those who believe in the application of the technology. That will be good for its further use in the way that we have argued it should be used.
The Labour party and the Liberals would engage in rhetoric and bureaucracy, and that is demonstrated by their amendments. The Government are engaged in providing the market conditions and the associated regulations which will protect the environment and make the best use of scarce resources. For that reason, I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the amendments should they be pressed to a vote.
Mr. Morgan : Hon. Members should be conscious of the importance that energy and the environment may have in politics. We are conscious of the visit by President Gorbachev, glasnost, and East-West relations. The Secretary of State is to visit the USSR next week. We must remember also that Mr. Gorbachev and glasnost would never have been successful but for the catastrophic Chernobyl accident. The attempt by the old Russian system to close the matter and say, "We must not tell the public about it," set the glasnost ball rolling in the Soviet Union. That is why we, in turn, place great emphasis on the conservation of energy and on conservation being written into the Bill in a much more powerful way than the Government have so far agreed to do. Why have the Government kept the Bill so weak and toned it down?
The Minister spoke at length, trying to break down energy conservation into its component parts and persuade people to make better industrial use of electricity in particularly and energy in general. He mentioned the problems that have arisen and the use of new technology in generation and utilising the waste heat that inevitably comes from generation. In his view, pollution has presented some sort of challenge. He said that, somehow, we are failing to take account of the impact of the coal industry on the pollution load in the atmosphere. The Government have suddenly deemed that they should grab the great issue of the greenhouse effect arising from carbon dioxide. That problem has arisen in the past two or three years. There is no point in jobbing backwards. Scientists are not examining it.
If the cause and effect that some scientists believe to exist in the connection between fossil fuel electricity generation and global warming is firmly proved over the next three or four years, obviously it will be a matter for policy adjustments when scientists have a clear message to tell us. In the meantime, it is not possible to find a serious scientist who is willing to commit himself or herself to the view that it is right now to change technologies from fossil fuel to nuclear fuel or other renewables. They will say that it makes sense to opt for conservation. The greenhouse effect argument that the Government have been trying to promote and use as a justification for the non-fossil fuel levy and for the protective right fence that they are putting around the nuclear industry but not around the coal industry was used by scientists to promote the need to write in conservation measures, as most American states have done and as the European Community is trying to do, but as this Government, given their big opportunity, are funking.
Let us work out why. The answer is simple. We have read about the great argument--we have heard it on serious television current affairs programmes on Sundays--between the Secretary of State for the Environment and
Column 403the Secretary of State for Energy. The Secretary of State for the Environment wants Britain to go all nuclear as quickly as possible. The Secretary of State for Energy had to put him right and insist, but in more elegant language, "Stay off my turf." He believes that we cannot afford to commit ourselves to a big programme of nuclear power and hope to float the industry.
The Secretary of State for the Environment says that he is an all-nuclear man, whereas the Secretary of State for Energy has a job to do--to sell the industry to the private sector. He is perfectly well aware from the advice that he is receiving from the merchant banks that one simply cannot do that and commit oneself to major changes in technology or to a building programme which he knows that the British power engineering industry cannot meet. He knows that if there were to be a big shift to nuclear power, there would be no chance of privatising the industry.
One cannot say that the industry is now due for a sea change in technology and for a major shift to some new and, in British terms, unproven method of generating power and yet hope to sell the industry. That would be an argument for keeping the industry in the public sector. There are many other arguments for that, but that is the argument that the merchant banks would use if the Secretary of State for the Environment were successful in persuading the Secretary of State for Energy that he had to shift to a major programme of nuclear power.
The Department of Energy says that it wants to keep things simple and not tell anyone in the City who might be advising the buyers that they might need to think about huge write-offs of existing plant. The Department of Energy says that the industry should be kept as it is so that it can produce profits every year and that if there were to be tighter regulations, they should be introduced on a cumulative basis, a few per cent. a year, with which the industry could cope as if it were a conventional company.
The Secretary of State for the Environment goes for the big bang and the shifting of everything into nuclear power. We believe that we should adapt the existing technology and convert to smaller power stations, from which we could obtain far higher efficiency ratings. We are well aware that it is possible to improve the peak performance of power stations from the present 37 per cent. fuel efficiency to 75 per cent., with the use of the combined cycle, combined heat and power technology or both at the same time.
The other points that the Opposition have raised have been in relation to the Government's attitude to the Energy Efficiency Office and other allied activities. There has been an enormous deterioration in the availability of advice to industry and consumers because of the change from the community regulations to the employment training regulations in respect of schemes that can provide energy advice or energy saving devices in houses, such as draught strips and insulation. Grants have also been abolished.
I shall give an example from Cardiff. About six months ago, 230 people were engaged in energy advice under the community programme. In spite of the changes announced by the Department of Employment to try to save some of the schemes, only 40 people are now engaged in that scheme. The energy advice centre has been scrapped completely because it proved to be wholly
Column 404impossible to make it compatible with the employment training regulations. That is a major loss to energy efficiency and conservation and it is a matter with which the Government have proved themselves inadequate to cope.
The Government's actions since the new year do not give us any confidence in the future of energy conservation. That is why we believe that it is essential to write into the Bill far stricter provisions than the Government have in mind. We know that the only people who are stopping the Government are the merchant bankers in the City who say that stricter provisions would over-complicate the issue and might stop the industry being sold off successfully. The merchant banks believe that if the Government want a successful sale, they should keep matters plain and simple and ensure that the industry can see the profits coming. The merchant banks believe that the Government should not tell people what there is to worry about in the energy future of the world.
We are glad that Mr. Malpas, the chief executive of PowerGen, has done his best to bring to the notice of the investing public, the general public and, most importantly, to the Government, just how important energy conservation is, whether the future of the electricity industry is in the public or private sector. Before any Conservative Back Benchers get the idea that conservation of the environment can be left safely to the private sector, I must point out that Opposition Members do not want to see the corner-cutting ethics and mentality of the Esso oil company, which caused the Prince William sound disaster of the Exxon Valdez in the past couple of weeks, running the electricity industry in this country.
Question put, That the clause be read a Second time :
The House divided : Ayes 191, Noes 254.
Division No. 142] [8.4 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)
Beith, A. J.
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buckley, George J.
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)
Duffy, A. E. P.
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Evans, John (St Helens N)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael