HC Deb 29 July 1953 vol 518 cc1279-80
4. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General, in view of the difficulties caused by inadequate communications in rural areas in the Highlands of Scotland and the fact that the postal authorities are unable to provide telephones in many instances through shortage of cables, when sufficient cable will be available to measure up to the needs of the area.

Mr. Gammans

The reason why the telephone system cannot be developed more rapidly is restriction on capital expenditure rather than scarcity of materials. I appreciate that there are substantial arrears to be overtaken, but I regret that I cannot say when our resources will be sufficient to enable all applications to be met.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him if he will bear in mind the importance of telephone communication in the Highland area, and will he do his best to see that this is expedited?

Mr. Gammans

I fully realise that. I do not like having to get up here every week and tell the same weary story about people waiting for telephones, but at least we have reduced the waiting list by 60,000 in the past year. I can assure my hon. Friend that we are very much alive to the importance of telephones in the Highlands.

Mr. Hobson

Does not the hon. Gentleman think that it would be better to divert capital expenditure towards the removal of the waiting list for telephones rather than to waste it on sponsored television?