HC Deb 01 March 1910 vol 14 cc740-1

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the dislocation of business, the financial loss, and the exasperation caused by the recent-failure of the telegraph to Dundee and the North-East of Scotland, also considering the frequent recurrence of these breakdowns, he will implement his Department's qualified promise of a year or two ago, and now without further delay have these lines placed underground?


further asked whether, in view of the statements of members of the Government that they recognise their liability to the unemployed workers of the country, he will now make financial arrangements whereby the work of placing underground the telegraph lines to Dundee and the North-East of Scotland could be at once proceeded with, and thus provide work of general utility and national benefit for some of the unemployed?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply yesterday to questions on the subject of underground cables. I much regret that, in view of the very heavy cost of laying these cables and the many claims which have to be considered, I see no present prospect of laying lines to Dundee and the North-East of Scotland. The hon. Member doubtless realises, however, that a considerable part of the expenditure on underground cables already incurred—over £1,500,000–is on the line from London to Edinburgh, by every mile of which Dundee and places beyond benefit.


Could the right hon. Gentleman not see his way to have some financial arrangement made whereby this could be done, especially as members of the Government have so repeatedly told us what useful work it would be as a means of giving employment?


The Government is proceeding to develop the system of underground cables, but, of course, the claims of the districts have to be balanced against one another.