HC Deb 16 February 1967 vol 741 cc773-4
9. Mr. Rowland

asked the Postmaster-General if he will explain the delay in the installation of equipment in the Castle Bromwich Telephone Exchange sufficient to meet the anticipated volume of demand by the dates originally promised to existing or future subscribers.

Mr. Joseph Slater

The demand for telephones at Castle Bromwich is extremely high, as a result of housing developments in the area. We have planned a series of equipment and building extensions for the exchange designed to meet this situation. The first of these was delayed by several months and I regret that in consequence dates given in good faith to certain subscribers could not he met.

Mr. Rowland

The Assistant Postmaster-General will know that there is a good deal of exasperation at Castle Bromwich about this. Can he tell the House how many people were given promises which have not been fulfilled and what steps have now been taken to deal with the situation? About the delays in the supply of equipment, who is the contractor from whom it comes?

Mr. Slater

Taking the last point first, Associated Electrical Industries Limited is the contractor. However, building delays have contributed to the situation. As regards promised dates, the 200 applicants who were originally promised connection by July, 1966, either did not receive it until recently or are still waiting. As for the steps that we are now taking, two extensions are in progress and four more are being programmed.

Sir T. Brinton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is by no means an uncommon occurrence? In my own constituency of Kidderminster, after promises going back 18 months that new equipment would be available at the Kidderminster Exchange by December, we are now informed that it will be mid-May, by which time 700 people will be waiting to be connected?

Mr. Slater

I have every sympathy with the hon. Gentleman and with other hon. Members who raise these issues. But 900 equipment contracts have been responsible for the delay.