§ Mr. MIDDLETON
asked the Postmaster-General the number of telephone exchanges equipped with automatic apparatus; the name of such exchanges; the number of telephone operators displaced by the introduction of automatic arrangements; and the amount of saving secured, having regard to the capital charges involved in the purchase of equipment?243W
§ Mr. HARTSHORN
Twenty-two telephone exchanges are at present equipped with automatic apparatus, namely, Leeds, Portsmouth, Southampton, Blackburn, Accrington, Newport, Grimsby, Stockport, Paisley, Darlington, Epsom, Dudley, Hereford, Marton, Dundee, Broughty Ferry, Hurley, Ramsey, Chepstow, Fleetwood, Hadleigh and Blockley. Owing to the rapid growth of the telephone service and to the normal wastage of the staff, it has been unnecessary to dispense with the services of any established operating staff, and only a few have had to be transferred to other offices. Many of the automatic exchanges in operation were established in order to provide practical experience of the various types of automatic equipment. The exchanges were not selected primarily with a view to securing economy, but efficiency. Although in most cases there has been some saving, comparative figures of annual charges on existing automatic exchanges would not serve any useful purpose. Taking, however, exchanges recently transferred, the annual saving at Dundee and Broughty Ferry, which form a single group, is estimated at £4,000, and at Southampton at £2000.