§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that Mr. C. S. Weir had a private telephone between his house and stables at Carbeth Guthrie over a distance of less than a quarter of a mile; that the said installation was made at a minimum of cost of about £5 by the late National Telephone Company, no poles being used and the wires attached to trees; that there was no through connection to the general system, it being purely a stable telephone; that the installation was perfect and never required any attention or repair; that the Post Office charged a rental of £2 17s. 6d. therefor, which has been paid for the last dozen years; that Mr. Weir has now instructed the telephone to be removed because the annual charge has been raised to £6 15s.; and that he has made a contract with a firm of electricians for an installation at a less cost than two years' of the annual rent proposed by the Post Office, for which new telephone he will have no annual rent to pay to anyone; whether there are many similar cases of loss of remunerative revenue by private telephones being removed for the same reason; whether the method of removing the said installation was as follows: a man on a motor cycle and side-car arrived to disconnect the instrument, removal, he said, was not his job, and some days later a squad of three to five men on a motor lorry arrived and lifted it thereon, leaving the wire as derelict; and whether, with a view to save expense, he will direct the use of Army mules or similar animals of unmixed blood as being more economical and suitable for Post Office transport?
§ Mr. PEASE
The revised charges for private wires, based on the average cost of providing the service, are. 25s. per annum for each furlong of external circuit (radial measurement) and £2 per annum for each instrument. The rental actually quoted was consequently £6 10s., not £6 15s. I have no knowledge of the contract made by Mr. Weir with a firm of electricians, but apparently the 1119W quotation referred to by the hon. Member does not include maintenance. The number of subscribers giving up the service as a result of the increased charges is relatively small. I am making inquiries as to the method adopted for carrying out the removal.