HC Deb 27 May 1924 vol 174 cc217-8
71. Major MOULTON

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that in the case of a telephone service asked for to a farm within two miles of Winters-low post office, Wiltshire, particulars of which were sent to him on the 30th April, a minimum charge of £35 has been asked per annum for a day service only; and whether, in the interests of agriculture, he can see his way to making cheaper arrangements for telephones in rural districts?


At present there is no exchange at Winterslow, but I should be prepared to provide one there, charging the rural tariff of £2 a quarter for circuits within 1½ miles of the exchange, or alternatively, to provide a rural party line service at £1 a quarter, if the necessary support were forthcoming. I am informed, however, that at present there is no prospect of the minimum number of eight subscribers being obtained. If a new exchange has to be provided for the benefit of a single subscriber, as in the case to which the hon. Member refers, the cost must necessarily be abnormally high.

Colonel ASHLEY

Is this another way in which the Government are going to help agriculture?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in all other countries it is realised that cheap telephone facilities are necessary if agriculture is to be carried on successfully?


In answer to the hon. and gallant Member opposite, I may say that the rural exchange rates were arranged by the previous Government. I have gone into them very carefully and find that considerable losses are sustained on these services at the present time, and I do not think I should be justified in modifying the charges at present.