HC Deb 27 July 1931 vol 255 cc1938-9
44. Mr. PYBUS

asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been drawn to a statement issued by the London Telephone Advisory Committee condemning as inadequate the steps pro posed to be taken by the Post Office to meet the increased demand for telephones resulting from increased publicity; and, if so, whether he will say for how many additional subscribers spare plant is already in existence; and what steps are being taken to obtain new subscribers?


I have seen the statement in question. I think that it was unfortunate that the Committee failed to make itself acquainted with the facts of the situation. Taking the country as a whole, there is spare plant in position sufficient to serve about 400,000 additional subscribers, over three times the normal increase. No limit has been fixed as to the rate of expenditure of the sum of about £30,000,000 recently authorised by Parliament for new telephone construction. The only restraining factor is the demand for telephone service. The relation between spare plant and demand in each district is under constant observation, and whenever there is in any area indication of a probable increase in the rate of development in excess of what can be met by the existing spare plant, additional construction is at once put in band. I am taking active steps to increase the number of new subscribers. The staff of canvassers is being increased substantially, and, in consultation with the Publicity Committee which I have set up, I am undertaking an extensive publicity campaign.


In view of the publicity given to the report of the committee, will the Postmaster-General ask this London Advisory Committee in future not to issue statements and give them to the Press without first ascertaining the real facts?


I will consider my hon. Friend's suggestion.


Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the recommendation of this Advisory Committee, that the whole telephone service should be placed under a separate board?


I have observed those remarks, and they will be considered in due course.