§ GENERAL LAURIE
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether the Postmaster General could arrange to expedite the work in connection with the extension of the telephone service (which is stated to be the cause of the excavations in the public highways), both by insisting on the workmen being continuously employed and further by the use of relief gangs, so that the work may be carried on day and night, so that the streets may as soon as practicable be available for the purpose for which they were constructed, that is for the locomotion of the public.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The Postmaster General is using every effort to expedite the underground work now in progress in connection with the establishment of a telephone exchange service in London, as well as to minimise the inconvenience to the public. It is not possible, however, to carry on all the work by night as well as day. There is no difficult as regards the work of excavation and filling in, but the laying of the ducts must be carried on by day in order to ensure the proper execution of the work. In all important thoroughfares night shifts have been employed on excavation wherever the number of ducts to be laid admitted of the duct-laying keeping pace with the excavation work. The hon. Member must not assume that all the excavations are being made by the Post Office, the electric light companies being engaged in similar operations.
§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
May I ask whether the hon. Gentleman is aware that the Old Jewry and other important thoroughfares in the City have been completely blocked for a fortnight, 855 and that no carts or conveyances of any kind can get up or down?
MR. AUSTEN CHAMBEELAIN
I have no information as to particular streets, but if any particular cases of undue delay are brought under my notice I will call the attention of the Postmaster General to them.
§ GENERAL LAURIE
Cannot it be arranged to continuously employ men at Ludgate Circus, where there are only two men on the excavations from end to end?
§ [No answer was given.]