HC Deb 09 August 1972 vol 842 cc1702-3
4. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he will give a general direction to the Post Office to maintain records of delays in international calls.

Sir J. Eden

No, Sir. It is for the Post Office to decide what records it needs to run its business efficiently.

Mr. Huckfield

Is the Minister aware that he keeps telling me that he does not have any record of delays on international calls? How on earth will he be able to find out what delays occur if he will not give the Post Office a simple directive like this? Does he not realise that the impossibility of using ISD facilities is now so intense that many of us have given up direct dialling altogether?

Sir J. Eden

It is not for me to keep these records or to check on the detailed operation of the service. That is a matter for the Post Office, which attends to it. The hon. Gentleman will be aware—dealing with his general observations—that demand in the United Kingdom for international calls has been rising at a rate in excess of 20 per cent. per annum, and this is likely to increase. The Post Office and the industry are doing their level best to tackle this, but it is straining resources to the limit.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is something strange about calls to Portugal, on which there is a four or five hours' delay, whereas if one calls from Portugal one gets through in 10 minutes?

Sir J. Eden

That may not be altogether to do with equipment in this country. It may have something to do with equipment in Portugal.