§ 62. Major ROSS
asked the Postmaster-General what is the percentage of post offices and railway stations in Great Britain, excluding Northern Ireland, and in Northern Ireland, respectively, that are without public telephones?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Lees-Smith)
I assume the hon. and gallant Member has in mind rural areas. At the 30th September, 1929, the proportion of rural post offices and railway stations without public telephone call offices was 44 per cent. in Great Britain 969 and 69 per cent. in Northern Ireland. Arrangements have already been made to provide call offices at a number of post offices and railway stations which in September last were without such facilities, and a considerable number of further extensions are under consideration.
§ Major ROSS
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that my question means what it says? I wanted to know the whole area, and, further, will he not take immediate steps to correct this inequality between one part of the Empire and the rest?
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I assumed that the hon. Member meant rural areas, because his previous questions have referred to them. With regard to correcting the inequality in Northern Ireland, I would remind the hon. and gallant Member that in the last six months 120 call offices have either been established or authorised.
§ Mr. LESLIE BOYCE
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the expansions which he mentioned are being undertaken in consequence of the Budget this year?
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
The present Postmaster-General is not bound by the Budget of this year. I have considered the question, and, although these steps have been taken along the general lines of policy in the Budget, naturally I have had to make fresh decisions for myself.