HC Deb 26 February 1964 vol 690 c407
26. Sir J. Langford-Holt

asked the Postmaster-General what technical and other difficulties prevent him from providing four-party shared telephone lines for elderly people at a reduced cost; and what lower charge he had in mind as a basis for consideration of this scheme.

Mr. Bevins

I have written to my hon. Friend about the details of this problem but, briefly, the costs of the devices needed to provide individual bills for calls and to route incoming calls exclusively to the required party outweigh the savings from sharing the line. It has not, therefore, been possible to consider a lower charge for such a service.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

While my right hon. Friend does not represent primarily a welfare Department, may I ask him to bear in mind that he is the proprietor of probably one of the main means of contact these people have with the outside world? Will he constantly keep this matter under review in the light of future developments which may come to his notice?

Mr. Bevins

I should have liked to have done something along the lines suggested by my hon. Friend, but the fact is that the technical difficulties are so great that we have not yet found a means of overcoming them.