HC Deb 06 July 1960 vol 626 cc447-8
40. Mr. Mason

asked the Postmaster-General what plans he has in mind for making the telephone service more attractive, for reducing the waiting list, and for eliminating the shared-line service.

Miss Pike

Our objectives for the telephone service were described in the White Paper (Cmd. 973) published last March. Some of the matters mentioned by the hon. Member depend on the capital resources available and the rate at which new applications are received. On others my right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement in the House today.

Mr. Mason

Is the hon. Lady aware that things are gradually getting worse in the Telephone Department of the Post Office; that there are still 147,000 people waiting for telephones and still 1 million using shared lines; that there is a demand for telephones, and that unless we get more subtle tariffs introduced, so that people will be encouraged to use telephones more when they get them, as well as encouraging the Treasury to hand over more money for telephone development, those potential customers will be lost?

Miss Pike

I assure the hon. Member that the hard core of the list numbers 50,000 and that the others are in the pipeline and are being attended to. Last year we connected 400,000 new telephones and with a buoyant economy the waiting list is always growing. We have this matter very much in mind. The hon. Gentleman will find that my right hon. Friend is well aware of all the possibilities suggested in the second part of the hon. Member's supplementary question.