HC Deb 22 July 1953 vol 518 cc354-5
11. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he is aware that the principle on which he at present acts in granting new telephones to applicants for them is unsound, because he relies upon priority of application instead of upon service to the community; and if he will alter his procedure accordingly.

Mr. Gammans

If, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, the principle is unsound, it is only fair to remind him that I inherited it. I am, however, satisfied that the general scheme of priority on which the Post Office works takes into consideration the general public interest, and to attempt to assess the claims of each individual applicant outside certain broad categories would be an impossible task.

Mr. Hughes

Would it not be fairer and better to allot telephones upon a points system under which points would be allotted for (a) priority of application and (b) service to the community, instead of allotting them simply for priority of application?

Mr. Gammans

To do that with a waiting list of 400,000 would mean an immense increase in the staff of my Department.

Mr. W. R. Williams

As the hon. Gentleman has enough trouble already with telephone applications, will he take care not to follow too far the advice in this respect of my hon. and learned Friend?