HC Deb 18 March 1912 vol 35 cc1536-8

asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, if he could arrange that hon. Members making use of the three telephone boxes situated near the stairs to the Members' Cloak Room should not have the benefit or otherwise of one another's conversation?

Mr. WEDGWOOD BENN (Lord of the Treasury

The First Commissioner is trying to remedy the defect complained of by the hon. Member.


asked the Postmaster-General if he will state the practice of the Post Office in the matter of accepting unused reply-paid telegram vouchers in part payment of subscribers' monthly accounts for trunk calls, telegrams, express letters, etc.; and whether he can see his way to modify the regulations in this matter on the lines of extending the facilities?


It has been the practice of the Post Office for some years to accept unused reply-paid telegram vouchers in part payment of telephone subscribers' monthly accounts for trunk calls, telegrams, express letters, etc. The only restriction hitherto attached to the use of the vouchers in this way has been that they must have been issued during the month covered by the account in respect of which they have been tendered in part payment. I have now arranged for this restriction to be modified so as to admit of their acceptance provided they are not actually out of date—that is, provided they are not more than two months old when used for the payment of accounts.


asked whether the closing of the public telephone at the Troedyrhiw post office on Thursday afternoons inconveniences the inhabitants; and whether, without interfering with the half-holiday of the merchant in whose premises the post office is situate, he can arrange for a public call office which would be available to users at all hours?


The closing of the public telephone call office at Troedyrhiw on Thursday afternoons is a result of the closing of the post office at that time in order to afford the sub-postmaster and his assistants a half-holiday. The local authority agreed to the change. A continuous exchange service is given to subscribers, but I fear that it will be difficult to arrange for call office facilities to be available on Thursday afternoons without curtailing the half-holiday privilege. I will, however, inquire whether any such arrangement is practicable.


Will the Postmaster-General state whether, under the proposals for telephone extension in rural districts, he will be able to afford the islands of Flotta and of Papa Westray any facilities, especially in view of the fact that the said islands, with a population numbering some hundreds, have never received the benefits of the telegraph?


In view of the high cost of laying submarine cables and the difficulty of maintaining them in the waters around the Orkneys, I fear that it is impracticable to establish telephonic communication with the numerous small Islands referred to by the hon. Member.


Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the question of the further extension of wireless telegraphy?


Wireless telegraphy has been used, to some extent, in the islands forming part of the hon. Member's constituency. If the hon. Member will make any practical suggestion to me in regard to its further extension I shall consider it.


asked on what grounds the refusal to allow copies of Service journals to be placed in the rest rooms of the telephone exchanges in the General Post Office, South, is based; whether he can state what considerations govern the selection of the literature supplied to these rooms, and who is responsible for the selection; and whether, in view of the importance to telephonists of the Report of the Medical Committee appointed to consider the conditions of working, he will also withdraw the refusal to allow copies of that report to be placed in these rooms?


I am inquiring into this matter. Perhaps the hon. Member will put his question again in a few days' time.