Following her keen interest in environmental matters and encouraging sustainable enterprise in Somerset, Tessa visited the PBTI factory site at Haydon outside Wells earlier this month, where the Company re-manufactures laser print cartridges with its workforce of almost 100 staff.
Local MP Tessa Munt has received the first draft proposal from the Boundary Commission this week, outlining suggestions for the new borders to the Wells constituency for the Parliamentary election in 2015.
I cannot resist the opportunity to discuss transmission. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, in fact, the costs of modernising electricity transmission are minimal compared with the increased prices charged by electricity and gas companies?
I wonder whether my hon. Friend’s proposals and discussions include a number of people who pay by direct debit. It noticeable—is it not?—that people can overpay by direct debit. They might be on the cheapest tariff, but the arrangement in place involves high regular payments. Energy companies never hesitate to contact us to let us know that we should pay more, but I have never been contacted to say that I am paying too much. We need to get a grip on that, because it affects people who do not necessarily understand the fantastically complex information that is sent out on bills, and there is a lack of fairness.
I should like to draw out a point about estimated bills. I met members of various energy companies last week, and they have no idea how many people receive estimated bills. Those who have received estimated bills for a year and are billed now for the outstanding amount will pay the new, inflated prices.
I am particularly concerned and exercised about people who never receive a bill, particularly pre-payment meter customers or card meter customers. Of course, there is the opportunity to have a large message printed on the receipt printout that one receives when paying at an outlet, and I hope that that option is included in the proposals. Also, there may be the option of ensuring that people who pay in advance for the sake of convenience or because they have an erratic income might be given a clear definition of what they might save by moving to a standard tariff.
I want to draw the Minister’s attention to my constituency, where we have Brean, which is a holiday destination, Berrow, and Burnham-on-Sea. Burnham-on-Sea is unique—it has peculiar tides and very swift and difficult changes on the mudflats, where any number of people and vehicles will become stranded over the summer. I have visited the volunteers who make up the local crews for Burnham-on-Sea coastguard and the Burnham area rescue boat. They have such a hard job to do, and they are very alarmed, as are local people, about the closure of Swansea, which would leave us in Somerset looking to Milford Haven, which is 60 miles to the west.
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what research his Department has evaluated on the effects on human health of residence near high-voltage power lines.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department publishes on future trade missions to be undertaken by Ministers of his Department; how much prior notification is provided to external bodies; and how such information is publicised.