HC Deb 19 February 1919 vol 112 cc978-80W

asked the Postmaster-General (1) what steps he proposes to take to develop the present telephonic system in Great Britain and to avoid the delay and difficulties that are now being experienced by subscribers and the public and to bring the same to the level of provision and efficiency of other countries; and whether he has conferred with the Minister of Munitions with a view to certain of the administrators of and works established under his Department being utilised for such a purpose; and

(2) what steps he is taking to secure an early return to pre-war postal and telegraphic conditions; and whether he is taking any action whereby auxiliary lines erected for military purposes will become available for public use?


I propose to answer questions 96 and 97 together. I am issuing instructions which will ensure the improvement of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic facilities as soon as the requisite plant can be procured and staff becomes available through discharge from active service. The delay and difficulties experienced by telephone subscribers have been due largely to inability during the War to carry out development works and to the necessity for giving priority to the calls of Government Departments and firms employed by them on urgent war services. Priority has now been withdrawn in a large number of cases, and by this means delay in trunk calls made by the public will be reduced. Circuits when released from naval, military, or munitions control will be available for the general telegraph or telephone services of the country. I shall not hesitate to apply to the Minister of Munitions if I am in want of assistance which he is in a position to furnish.


asked the Postmaster-General if he has received a resolution from the Town Commissioners of Gilford, county Down, with regard to the present arrangements by the postal authorities for the delivery and dispatch of mails and parcels from the post office in Gilford; and whether anything will be done to meet their requirements?


The resolution has been received. The general revision of postal facilities which have been cur- tailed during the War is under consideration, and I am unable at present to say what improvement it may be possible to authorise in the case of Gilford.


asked the Postmaster-General if he has received representations, from the Deptford Borough Council regarding the provision of increased postal facilities in that borough, as at present postal business cannot be transacted after 8 p.m. (on certain days 7 p.m.), and no post office being open on Sundays; and whether he can see his way to give favourable and early consideration to the borough council's representations on the subject?


I have received the representations in question and am making inquiries with a view to seeing whether improvements can be effected in the postal arrangements in Deptford. I will communicate with the borough council as soon as the inquiries are complete.


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that for a long time past the residents of Orkney and Shetland have suffered very considerably by the irregularity of the mail service; and if he will endeavour to get it back to normal conditions as soon as possible?


The frequency and regularity of communication with the Orkney and Shetland Islands have suffered through the War, and the mail service has been restricted as a consequence. The matter has been discussed with the steamship company concerned, but I can hold out no hope of an early return to the service on the pre-war scale, as conditions affecting the cost of working are stillfar from normal.

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