HC Deb 26 February 1964 vol 690 cc404-5
4. Mr. Holland

asked the Postmaster-General what steps are being taken to increase the telephone cable capacity in the Acton Green and Bedford Park areas of South Acton, and so reduce the necessity for shared party lines.

Mr. Bevins

I agree that people are waiting for telephones in the areas mentioned by my hon. Friend, but major cable works, which will remove the difficulties in these districts, are now going ahead in Acton Green and Bedford Park and will be completed in about six months' time. The situation will then be much better.

As I said in the recent White Paper, the ultimate aim is to remove compulsory sharing altogether, but first priority will be given to providing telephone service. I am afraid that sharing must continue in the short term.

Mr. Holland

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the vast improvement in other aspects of the telephone service tends to underline the retrograde nature of the step of transferring existing subscribers to party lines? This was the nature of my Question. Can he not in these circumstances do everything possible in all the large conurbations to try to provide cables of adequate capacity for the rising demand for the telephone service as quickly as possible and so avoid spoiling the ship for a ha'porth of tar.

Mr. Bevins

I quite agree, but the situation in my hon. Friend's constituency is that the number of people waiting for any time has been halved—as in the case of Leicester—in the last 12 months. I am aware of the individual case which I think has prompted my hon. Friend's Question. I certainly hope to restore his constituent's exclusive service by the end of this year.

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