HC Deb 08 July 1913 vol 55 cc222-4

asked the Postmaster-General, if work,has been commenced on the underground telephone cable between Manchester and Stockport, and, if not, when it will be commenced; and how long it will take from the commencement of the work to completion?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

The actual work of construction has not yet begun; but the preliminary arrangements which must precede that work are in hand. It is hoped to place the contract for the pipework within the next month. Unless unforeseen difficulties arise the work should be completed by the end of the present year.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his officials state that they cannot reduce the charge for the telephone between Stockport and Manchester until this cable is completed, because if they did they would not be able to handle the extra traffic, seeing that they cannot handle the present traffic satisfactorily, and will he put on a little extra pressure and get the work done?


I am aware of the fact, as I informed the hon. Member in answer to previous questions. The pressure on the engineering staff at present is very great, and I am told that it is impossible to complete the work before the end of this year.

67. Mr. SYKES

asked whether the land has been secured for the new telephone exchange at Stockport; if so, whether building operations have been commenced; and, if not, when building operations will be commenced?


The Telephone Exchange at Stockport is to be transferred to the head post office, which is in course of enlargement.


asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether No.5131 Avenue, endeavouring on 20th June to ring up another subscriber, was in formed alternately that the number was engaged, and that no reply could be obtained, but that prolonged inquiry and,delay elicited the information that the number had been changed; whether he will cause an immediate inquiry to be made into the circumstances; (2) whether No. 5131 Avenue, endeavouring, on the morning of 21st June, to call a subscriber.on the Victoria Exchange, was connected with three wrong numbers in succession, no apology being offered, and this was followed by a series of engaged signals ex-tending over half an hour; that the firm was finally informed by the Victoria supervisor that the number sought had been out of order all the morning; whether he will cause an immediate inquiry to be made into the circumstances; and (3) whether a City firm, No. 5131 Avenue, on 16th June, at 11.30 a.m. endeavoured to ring up a subscriber on the Gerrard Exchange, who was awaiting the call, and that after waiting seven minutes for a reply from the exchange they were rudely informed that no reply could be.obtained; whether he is aware that the firm's operator, holding the original line, secured the number on another line at once; and whether he will cause an immediate inquiry to be made into the circumstances?


I am having inquiry made as to the treatment of the calls in question, and will inform the Noble Lord of the result as soon as possible.


Will the right hon. Gentleman, in order to avoid the delay in answering questions in future, say if there is any department in the Post Office which deals with these matters, and, if there is one, can he see that answers are given more quickly than at present? Is he aware that I made a representation on Saturday, and have not yet received a reply?


The Controller's office in London is the office which deals with points of this character. I am sorry if the Noble Lord has not received a reply since Saturday, but the interval, after all, is not very long.


asked the Postmaster-General whether Burrelton telephone office is now closed on Thursday afternoons; whether the parish council had guaranteed the deficit on working expenses under continuous day running; whether this deficit will now be increased in consequence of the half-holiday; and whether he will return to the full time or let the parish council off its guarantee owing to the broken agreement?


I am making inquiry, and will communicate with the Noble Lord.


Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter himself, as I think there has been a little injustice?


Yes, Sir, I am looking into the matter myself.