HC Deb 07 June 1972 vol 838 cc432-3
8. Mr. Milne

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications how many new telephone subscribers there have been in the last 12 months; and how many are currently awaiting installation.

Sir J. Eden

The Post Office tells me that about 1.3 million new exchange lines were supplied in the year ending 31st March, 1972. About 222,000 applicants were waiting for telephones at the end of April.

Mr. Milne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the figures cloak the fact that no credit can be reflected on anybody concerned in this operation? Does he appreciate than an overhaul o the telephone services is long overdue? Does he realise that while all the national figures are disturbing, the figures applying to development districts are particularly disturbing in view of the adverse effects they have on those areas, in which there are far too many firms and individuals awaiting the installation of telephones?

Sir J. Eden

I am aware of the point the hon. Gentleman makes about the development areas but, as he knows, a tremendous amount of attention is being given to ways in which to cut into the over-long waiting list; and every party concerned shares the determination to bring the list down as rapidly as possible.

Mr. Fry

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that in my constituency we have an exceptionally long waiting list and that this is especially disturbing when one realises the number of cases of high social priority? May I draw his attention to the widespread concern that is felt in Northampton shire and the hope that the Post Office will do something urgently to reduce the waiting time for telephones?

Sir J. Eden

I assure my hon. Friend that the last point he makes is well appreciated. I can be absolutely categoric, as a result of the discussions that I have had not only with the industry's suppliers but also with the Post Office, that there is a clear and unanimous determination to tackle this problem with the utmost vigour.