§ 5. Mr. Edward Evans
asked the Postmaster-General what representations he has received from organisations in Bungay, Suffolk, on the changes in the telephone regrouping scheme, removing Bungay and the Waveney Valley from the Norwich area; whether he is aware that this will cause inconvenience and additional cost to trading interests in that district; and whether he will have the 1238 projected scheme re-examined with the object of retaining these districts in the Norwich area as formerly.
§ Mr. K. Thompson
Representations have been received from the Bungay Urban District Council and the District Chamber of Trade about the charge for calls from Bungay to Norwich. The Bungay group does not adjoin the Norwich group and 1s. remains the appropriate charge for calls between them as it was immediately before the introduction of group charging on 1st January, 1958. This change did not impose any additional costs on the trading interests making calls between Bungay and Norwich. I could not make an exception to the system of group charging which has been applied uniformly throughout the country. I am sorry that it has not resulted in lower charges for calls between Bungay and Norwich as it has done for many other calls.
§ Mr. Evans
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his answer will give great disappointment to the trading interests in Bungay, which has a commercial association with Norwich, and that if it were linked up with the Norwich group the rebate on charges would be effective in Bungay? Is he not also aware that the trading interests in Bungay will regard this as a grave disservice?
§ Mr. Thompson
We should be sorry if they felt that. Wherever these lines are drawn, either in this area or in any other part of the country, it is inevitable that there should be a certain amount of disappointment somewhere. We have tried to do the best we can for the country as a whole, and here in any case we have succeeded in giving advantages to those who live and work in Bungay.
§ Mr. C. R. Hobson
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the latter part of his reply is thoroughly disingenuous and that in dealing with these uniform group charges, instead of having a certain radius of miles for group callings, these circles have been broken into in order to avoid towns of large populations, which is particularly true of the West Riding of Yorkshire?
§ Mr. Thompson
That is an unfortunate charge for the hon. Gentleman to make against the Post Office. We have 1239 done the best we can to give satisfaction over wide areas, and we have largely succeeded. It is true that some towns do not get all they hope for, but life is like that.