HC Deb 11 July 1968 vol 768 c722
21. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will set up a committee to inquire into the hardship which will be caused in consequence of the most recent proposed increase in telephone charges.

The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. Joseph Slater)

No, Sir.

Mr. Taylor

As the Minister told me in April that 55,000 people would give up their phones because of increased charges, and since for many people the phone is the only link with emergency services and their friends, would he be prepared, under any circumstances, to consider concessionary charges for old people living alone to enable them to make limited use of the telephone?

Mr. Slater

Concessionary charges have been before us time and again. They are not, for our part, an appropriate solution to the problem. The increases in charges have to be made and will be made. In general they will apply from 1st October. They have been examined and supported by the National Board for Prices and Incomes. I am aware of the great interest which the hon. Gentleman has taken in this matter.

Mr. Milne

Is my hon. Friend aware that an inquiry is being carried out on this subject and related subjects at Essex University? Has he anything further to report on this inquiry at this stage?

Mr. Slater

I reported on this the last time that I answered Questions in the House. At this juncture I have nothing further to say.