HC Deb 14 April 1948 vol 449 cc976-7
64. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison

asked the Postmaster-General when it is proposed to relax the present restriction whereby a person applying for the installation of a telephone in the Edinburgh area requires to have such application sponsored by a Government Department or backed by a medical certificate.

The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. Hobson)

As my right hon. Friend stated in his reply to the hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. Grimston) on 18th December last, the Post Office, in dealing with applications for telephone service, will for some time to come have no alternative but to give preference to certain classes of subscriber for whom service is regarded as essential in the public interest. Other applications are dealt with, broadly in order of date, so far as staff and plant are available. In the Edinburgh area, as elsewhere, applications which are not in the essential categories are sometimes pressed on the ground of national importance or serious illness. In the former type of case the Post Office consults the appropriate Government Department and in the latter asks the applicant for supporting evidence, the simplest form usually being a medical certificate.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Can the hon. Gentleman say how soon the restrictions will be relaxed in Edinburgh and telephones supplied to new applicants?

Mr. Hobson

That depends entirely on the supply of cable and telephone equipment.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Can the hon. Gentleman give some indication?

Mr. Mathers

Would it be possible for the Minister to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the categories showing priorities as they are being met, and as it is hoped to meet them, in the Edinburgh area?

Mr. Hobson

Priorities have already been stated by my right hon. Friend in his speech on the Post Office and Telegraph (Money) Bill and in answer to Questions.