HC Deb 03 June 1946 vol 423 cc1579-81
1. Major Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade, how many poles complying with G.P.O. standards, are held in stock by the G.P.O., or by any other Department on its behalf; how many have been ordered for the use of the G.P.O., and if he will give similar figures for poles of equivalent quality available in this country to the electricity supply industry.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Belcher)

Apart from poles issued but not yet erected, the number of which, of course, varies from day to day, the G.P.O. have about 140,000 poles in stock. The greater part of this stock is in sizes usable only by the G.P.O., and a considerable proportion is below the normal G.P.O. standard or has not yet been creosoted. No stocks are held by any other Department on behalf of the G.P.O. The only stocks held by the electricity supply industry are small day to day working stocks. Of the 96,000 poles expected to be available for use this year, 45,000 have been allocated to the Electricity Commission. The G.P.O. will receive 37,000 poles due in the second half of the year.

Sir Waldron Smithers

Will the Parliamentary Secretary say what is the value of these poles per pole?

Mr. Belcher

I am afraid that I cannot give that information in reply to a supplementary question, but if the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question, I will do my best to answer it.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Are there not a large number of poles, the lack of which is hindering agricultural production, and which are surplus to Air Ministry requirements, that could be made available for this purpose?

Mr. Belcher

So far as I am aware, that is not the case, but I am prepared to look into the matter.

Major Haughton

Would not a greater use of ferro-concrete poles ease the situation?

Mr. Belcher

That is another question, but I am prepared to look into all these matters.

2. Major Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is satisfied, having regard to the importance of electricity supplies to the community, that sufficient priority is being given to the electricity supply industry in the allocation of poles, as compared with that accorded to the G.P.O.

Mr. Belcher

The allocation of supplies for 1946 has been made in consultation with the Departments concerned, including the Electricity Commission, and has been accepted by them.

Major Digby

Is the Parliamentary Secretary satisfied that the number of poles allocated to the electricity industry is sufficient, in view of the very great demand for the extension of electricity in the rural areas?

Mr. Belcher

I am satisfied that the allocation of poles to the Electricity Commission is fair. In so far as there is a shortage, we are doing our best to provide them with what they need, but we have to allocate as between different people.

Major Legge-Bourke

Can the hon. Gentleman say what proportion of the 96,000 poles, which are estimated to be coming in during the year, will be coming from Scandinavia?

Mr. Belcher

That is quite a different question.