HC Deb 14 April 1964 vol 693 c218
7. Sir M. Galpern

asked the Postmaster-General how many applications for telephone installations were outstanding at the last convenient date; and the average waiting period in England and Wales and in Scotland.

Mr. Mawby

Leaving aside orders under inquiry or being met, there were 44,000 applications outstanding in the United Kingdom on 31st March, 1964.

The composition of the waiting list is constantly changing, and I am sorry that we cannot give a reliable average waiting time.

Sir M. Galpern

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman cannot state the relative waiting period as between Scotland and England and Wales, although I believe that the waiting period in Scotland is much longer. Can he indicate whether the Postmaster-General still adheres to his assurance that the backlog of orders for telephone installations will have been met by 1966?

Mr. Mawby

That is our aim and I see no reason why we should not fulfil it. As to the waiting list, I know of no major difference between Scotland and England. The figure represents about 0.79 per cent. of the total number of working lines, but, as I have said, we hope to clear the whole lot by an early date.

Sir H. Harrison

Would my hon. Friend not agree that this is a rather negative Question, since it does not show the number of installations which have been completed in recent years?

Mr. Mawby

It has been a major problem that we have had to cater for ever-increasing demands for telephones and, at the same time, try to reduce the waiting lists. We have made terrific strides, taking into account the additional demand, which is still continuing.