HC Deb 10 May 1972 vol 836 cc1300-1
19. Mr. Madel

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications how many people are currently waiting for a telephone.

Sir J. Eden

According to the Post Office, 218,000 at the end of March, 1972, of whom about 209,000 were residential applicants.

Mr. Madel

May I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the situation in my own constituency? It is Government policy to encourage both industrial and housing development there and yet the Post Office is barely able to keep pace. Would my right hon. Friend therefore arrange for greater resources to be placed at the disposal of the Bedfordshire authorities?

Sir L Eden

I am aware of the position in my hon. Friend's constituency where there are now 1,737 applicants waiting for telephone service. The majority of these are on the Leagrave exchange. The Post Office expects to provide service for most of these applicants by August this year.

Mr. Heller

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the Post Office to explain in future when supplying telephones to applicants that they will now have to pay an extra 10 per cent. in value added tax, which is part of the efforts of the Government to keep down the inflationary spiral?

Sir J. Eden

No, Sir. The Post Office scale of charges is already well known.

Captain W. Elliot

Can my right hon. Friend tell me of any other organisation whose supplies are so far behind demand? Can nothing be done to satisfy this demand?

Sir J. Eden

As I made clear the last time this question was raised in the House, I am discussing urgently the way in which it is best to tackle the backlog. I have had talks so far with representatives of industry, with my colleagues and with the Post Office Corporation.