HC Deb 10 November 1971 vol 825 cc1017-8
30. Mr. Edward Taylor

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunica- tions what estimate he has made of the percentage of homes in Great Britain which have neither a private nor a party-line telephone.

Mr. Chataway

None, Sir, but I understand from the Post Office that currently about 40 per cent. of homes in the United Kingdom have telephones.

Mr. Taylor

Do not those figures show that the majority of people in Britain still depend on public telephones? Because of the appalling vandalism, is the Post Office considering as well as it should the resiting of as many of those telephone kiosks as possible in places where they are not so liable to vandalism?

Mr. Chataway

The Post Office has put a great deal of thought and energy into meeting the problem, both as to siting and to developing and installing telephone kiosks that are more vandal-proof.

Mr. Gregor Mackenzie

Are not people in Japan, the United States, Italy and other countries encouraged to put telephone kiosks in garages, cafes and so on? Will the right hon. Gentleman suggest that policy to the Post Office, because it seems to have worked quite successfully in the countries concerned? The supplementary question of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) on Question No. 29 ties up with this. When he noted that there was a delay of 15 months in supplying equipment, the Minister did not answer that part of his question. What is the right hon. Gentleman doing to reduce the delay?

Mr. Chataway

Principally, we are gradually stepping up the investment programme, because the delay now is owing to inadequate investment during the time the previous Government were in office. We are ensuring that the Post Office moves as far as it can within the present capacity to meet demand—connections this year are 10 per cent. above what was estimated—and that we invest sufficient for the future.