8. Mr. Slater
asked the Postmaster-General how many applicants await the installation of telephones in the Sedgefield Parliamentary constituency; and how such figures compare with those of twelve months ago.
Five hundred and sixty-four, including 126 whose applications are either in course of being met or under inquiry. This is an increase of 68 during the past twelve months, although some 550 new telephones have been installed in that period.
Can the Minister state whether material has become available in larger quantities at this time for the installation of telephones? Secondly, is it not true that the new proposals set out in the White Paper will have the effect of restricting long-standing applications from people who are desirous of having a telephone installed in their premises?
To reply to the first point, two of the exchanges in the hon. Gentleman's constituency are to have additional equipment next year and in one exchange the additional equipment will be installed in the year after. In regard to the second question, if the hon. Gentleman will study the figures in relation to telephone provision to September of this year and compare them with the programme of half a million new telephones next year and 1823 a slightly higher figure in subsequent years, he will find evidence of hope in the White Paper proposals.