HC Deb 20 May 1953 vol 515 cc2056-7
14. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the limitations on capital and material which prevent an adequate provision of telephone facilities for the present list of applicants.

Mr. Gammans

The limitation is what the nation can afford. Since the war, national investment, in which the Post Office can have only its appropriate share, has been limited by the resources available, both financial and material. There are many claims on material resources, including those of defence and a rising level of exports. Financial claims are limited by the nation's capacity to accumulate savings.

15. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what amount of the capita] investment programme of the Post Office is being made available for the provision of telephones in the current financial year.

Mr. Gammans

About £38,750,000. This figure, like those given in my reply of 11th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Miss Ward), represents expenditure on local and junction cables, exchange equipment, buildings, and on connecting up subscribers and telephone kiosks; it excludes expenditure on the development of the trunk service.

Mr. Hughes

Can the hon. Member say whether his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will remove the ban on the building of new exchanges which largely accounts for the present shortage?

Mr. Gammans

No, but we have reduced the waiting list by over 50,000 in the past year.

Mr. W. R. Williams

Does the Assistant Postmaster-General from time to time acquaint the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the tremendous pressure exerted upon Members of this House by constituents on the delay that has occurred in granting them these facilities?

Mr. Gammans

I can assure the hon. Member that the Post Office is not more slow than any other Government Department in pressing its claims on the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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