HC Deb 07 February 1938 vol 331 cc683-4W
Mr. Bull

asked the Postmaster-General what has been the estimated increase in the number of telephones installed in the country following the reduction in rentals during recent years; and whether he will consider the desirability of reducing rentals still further with a view to increasing still further the number of telephone installations and thus provide not only additional employment for all concerned but benefit the revenue of the Post Office?

Major Tryon

The number of telephones has increased from about 2¼ millions at the beginning of 1934 to over three millions at the present time, an increase of about 33 per cent. I can assure the hon. Member that I am fully alive to the desirability of reducing the charges for the telephone to the lowest level consistent with the provision of an efficient service and with an adequate financial return; but I am not at present in a position to contemplate reductions over and above those already made, some of the most important of which took effect less than 18 months ago.

Mr. McGovern

asked the Postmaster General whether he is aware that Mr. Steven, 17, Wester Road, Mount Vernon, Lanarkshire, made an application for a telephone on 10th April, 1937, and why no installation has yet been made?

Major Tryon

The delay in providing telephone service has been due to serious line plant shortage in the locality. The provision of additional line plant has been in hand for some time, but has been hampered by road widening operations. The difficulties have now been overcome and Mr. Steven was given service on 25th January.

Brigadier-General Brown

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that there are certain telephone calls with seven numbers to dial; and whether he will arrange to reduce all numbers which have more than five figures in them to that figure?

Major Tryon

London, Birmingham and Manchester automatic subscribers for some years past have dialled seven digits for all local calls. In the rest of the country calls within the same area are usually obtained by dialling three, four or five digits and these form the great proportion of the calls made. For calls to adjoining areas the total number of digits to be dialled could not be restricted to five without the partial abandonment of automatic working.