HC Deb 09 December 1959 vol 615 cc505-7
31. Sir C. Taylor

asked the Postmaster-General how many people are now on the waiting list for telephones at Eastbourne; and how many are sharing lines.

Mr. Bevins

At 30th September last there were 47 applications on the waiting list at Eastbourne and 134 others were under enquiry or in course of being met. The number sharing lines is 2,620, out of a total of 8,754.

During the past twelve months 780 telephones have been provided.

Sir C. Taylor

Is not a figure of over 2,000 people sharing lines a very high proportion compared with other parts of the country?

Mr. Bevins

In fact it is a lower proportion, I regret to say, than in many parts of the country. Even so, as I have made clear on more than one occasion, it is our policy at the Post Office to give people free choice whether to have an independent or shared line as quickly as possible.

32. Sir C. Taylor

asked the Postmaster-General when he anticipates being able to install an automatic telephone exchange in Eastbourne and the surrounding sub-exchanges.

Mr. Bevins

I expect to introduce automatic working at Eastbourne towards the end of 1964. The adjacent manual exchange at Hampden Park is due for conversion in 1962.

Mr. Nabarro

Just in time for the next election.

Sir C Taylor

Do not all the replies we have had from the Postmaster-General suggest that he should take some advice from private enterprise on this nationalised industry?

Mr. Bevins

I think that my hon. Friend realises that the Postmaster-General is subject to capital investment control like several of my right hon. Friends.