HC Deb 23 February 1966 vol 725 cc381-2
1. Mr. Fisher

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will now consider the installation of public telephones on private premises, as suggested by the Telephone Users Association, in order to combat telephone kiosk vandalism.

50. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Postmaster-General what plans he has for the provision of small portable public telephones of the kind used abroad, such as the Japanese red telephones.

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn)

I have put in hand the development of a small and attractive portable coin box telephone with full STD facilities. It might be a public telephone or be rented by a subscriber for general use.

The possibility of using small coin box telephones similar to those in use in Japan is being investigated.

Mr. Fisher

As now about 25 per cent. of our public telephones are out of action due to vandalism, and as the installation of public telephones in private premises has been, I understand, a success in Australia and Japan, will the Postmaster-General consider extending this experiment here rather further as a way of giving better protection against vandalism to public property and also, if I may say so, of destroying the profit motive for vandalism?

Mr. Benn

The problem of vandalism is very much in our minds in reaching a decision, but, as the hon. Member knows, there are 120,000 rented call boxes already in existence, and these at present meet that sort of need.

Mrs. Short

I thank my right hon. Friend very much for his Answer, but may I ask whether these small telephone boxes will be suitable for shops and hotels; and also whether there is likely to be some financial incentive to encourage people to install them?

Mr. Benn

The objective is certainly to meet the need my hon. Friend has mentioned, and the financial arrangements would be designed to make them attractive as well.