Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1934, for salaries and expenses of the Post Office, including Telegraphs and Telephones.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir Kingsley Wood)
I do not think that the explanation of this Estimate will take more than a few minutes. I saw a paragraph in a newspaper describing the Estimate under the heading "£10 required for the Post Office," but I cannot contend that that is in fact the case, because I shall welcome any contributions. The purpose of the Estimate is to obtain Parliamentary authority during the current financial year for certain expenditure in relation to Post Office publicity, as described in the Paper which is in the hands of hon. Members. The matter arises in connection with a certain form of Post Office publicity, namely, the exhibition of films. As many hon. Members know, while we go in for publicity in the form of newspaper advertising, which we find to be very satisfactory, we also make use of films, and for some time, while the Empire Marketing Board was in existence, we employed their film unit to make some films for the Post Office. When the activities of the Board ceased, it was considered—and this is one of the purposes of the 1747 Estimate—that it would be to the advantage of the Post Office to take over the unit, together with the film library. As hon. Members will see from the Estimate, the cost of the whole thing is very small, and the effectiveness of this kind of publicity has been amply demonstrated from the Post Office point of view. The film library was also operated by the Empire Marketing Board, but many of the films were the property of Dominion Governments, and I am glad to say that I have been able to arrange, at any rate for the period covered by the Estimate, that the Post Office shall be able to use the film library, which, with its pictures of life in Great Britain and so many parts of the Empire, affords excellent material for a special series of films depicting those postal, air mail, and telephonic services by which communications are maintained within the United Kingdom. I would only say, in conclusion, that the results which the Post Office has obtained by these methods have been eminently satisfactory, as I think have the improvements that have been made in many of its services. For all these reasons, I ask the House to let me have this Estimate.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I hope that the films to which my right hon. Friend has referred will include a picture showing a cable-layer laying a cable to the Western Isles—to Islay and Mull. A huge population goes there in the summer, and these people are marooned and cannot get in touch with their business. The new steamers are enormously successful in taking that very large population there, and it is essential to business men who go there that they should be able to have telephonic communication with the mainland during their holidays. I prophesied that the steamboat service would pay, and I am told that it is paying, and, if the Postmaster-General would establish a telephone service to Islay and Mull, it would be one of the most fruitful sources of trunk calls in his whole system, because there is no other method of communication. I hope, therefore, that he will endeavour to do that.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.