HC Deb 18 May 1960 vol 623 cc1257-8
6. Mr. Allason

asked the Postmaster-General when he expects to convert the Boxmoor telephone exchange to automatic operation; and by what means the conversion can be speeded up.

Mr. Bevins

I expect the conversion to take place in 1964. A new building is required, and discussions are proceeding with the local planning authority. I do not think that I can undertake to convert the exchange before 1964, but, as I have already told my hon. Friend, I will do so if I can.

Mr. Allason

Could not my right hon. Friend take a commercial view of this matter? I thought that he had been freed from Treasury control. A very large number of firms in the new town of Hemel Hempstead are in desperate need of an efficient telephone service, which they had when they were in London. What is needed is an expansion of the facilities and equipment. Surely no private enterprise firm would go to its customers and say, "We cannot give you the service you want for a further four years".

Mr. Bevins

The shortage of junctions has been largely overcome by the provision of additional junctions. As my hon. Friend said, it is perfectly true that we are to make a more commercial approach to the Posit Office, but when he has been in this place a little longer he will realise that there are many components to government.