HC Deb 09 December 1912 vol 45 cc39-41

asked the Postmaster-General the number of clerks in the provinces transferred from the National Telephone Company, Limited, who have been or can be called upon to work additional hours over and above those worked under the National Telephone Company without receiving any additional increments?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

Under the National Telephone Company the gross hours of attendance of the provincial clerical staff were forty-nine, and the net working hours

Year. Receipts. Royalties. Working Expenses. Balance available for Dividends, Interest. etc. Payments to Reserve Fund.
£ £ £ £ £
1907 2,702,228 257,919 1,530,092 914,215 275,000
1908 2,951,000 283,758 1,687,535 979,707 295,000
1909 3,149,126 302,984 1,183,490 1,032,651 320,000
1910 3,422,423 329,494 1,987,356 1,105,572 375,000
1911 3,685,402 353,322 2,103,033 1,229,046 501,536
Totals 15,910,179 1,527,477 9,121,506 5,261,191 1,766,536

The income, working expenses, and balance of the Post Office telephone system during the same years, were as follows:—

Year. Receipts. Working Expenses Balance available for Repayment of Capital and for Payment of Interest.
£ £ £
1906–7 1,135,480 655,355 480,145
1907–8 1,351,872 864,541 487,331
1908–9 1,528,955 963,815 565,140
1909–10 1,704,566 1,030,622 673,944
1910–11 1,938,329 1,146,629 791,700
Totals 7,659,202 4,660,942 2,998,260

forty-four or forty-four and a-half a Week. In the Post Office the gross hours are forty-eight and the net hours forty-five; but a relief is given on Saturday afternoons when the state of the work admits, and the net working time in actual practice is often less than the net working hours under the company. The number of officers concerned is 1,350.


asked the loss on the General Post Office telephone system for the five years preceding May, 1911, and the profit made by the National Telephone Company, Limited, for the last five years of their licence, together with the total amount paid in that five years by the National Telephone Company to the State as royalties, and the total amount during those five years placed to their reserve fund?


The following table gives particulars of the gross and net income and working expenses of the National Telephone Company with the amounts paid as royalties and carried to reserve fund during the last five years, as stated in the company's accounts:—


asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether, seeing that the present inefficiency of the telephone service, as evidenced by the complaints, is due to the shortness of funds at the disposal of his Department for working this service, he will take steps for obtaining larger Grants for this purpose; (2) whether, seeing that the funds at his disposal for dealing with rural party telephone lines are exhausted, he can state whether any of the other funds placed at his disposal for dealing with other branches of the telephone service are similarly exhausted; and (3) whether, when applying to the Treasury for funds for providing rural party telephone lines, he received the full amount he applied for?


There is no justification for the suggestion that there is any lack of funds which is the cause of inefficiency. The funds at my disposal have been adequate for dealing with any branch of the telephone service other than rural party lines. These lines wore in the nature of an experiment, and a Grant of £ 5,000 only was asked for in the first instance, which was sanctioned by the Treasury. The experiment has, I am glad to say, been more successful than was anticipated, and the Treasury have now consented to make a further Grant.


asked the Postmaster-General whether representations have been made to him to establish a telephone rural party line in the Alness district of Ross-shire; and, if so, in view of the fact that it is essential for the agricultural interests of the district that there should be such a line established at once, whether he will consider these representations favourably?


I have the ease in question under consideration; and I hope to be able in the course of a few days to make a definite proposal to those who wish to participate in the service.