9. Mr. Lindsay
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the widespread dissatisfaction with the British telephone service, in particular with the time it takes to obtain a directory inquiry, a trunk call and a subsequent disconnection; and if he will make a statement on his long-term plans to improve these services, with estimates of the time it will take to effect the various improvements.
§ Mr. Bevins
In most parts of the country the service is, I believe, very good. There are some places where, because of shortage of staff, buildings or equipment, the quality of service is not as good as I would wish. In these places we are doing what we can to bring about an improvement.
1260 As regards the latter part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the plans described in the White Papers of November, 1957, on Telephone Policy, and March, 1960, on Post Office Capital Expenditure in 1960–61.
Will my right hon. Friend accept that the British telephone service is a disgrace to a modern country, and will he do something about it?
§ Mr. Bevins
I certainly do not accept that very sweeping generalisation, but, on the other hand, I am perfectly willing to concede that in the Birmingham area, where there has been an immense new demand for a telephone service during the last year or two, the situation is not as good as it ought to be. As I indicated, I am doing what I can to improve it.