HC Deb 30 May 1946 vol 423 cc214-6W
13. Sir G. Fox

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether facilities are now available for passengers wishing to telephone Great Britain or the U.S.A. from mid-Atlantic.

Mr. Burke

I regret that it is not yet possible to provide facilities for telephone calls to be exchanged with ships in the Atlantic as suitable frequencies cannot yet be made available by the authorities controlling their use. The clearance of these frequencies is being negotiated as rapidly as possible.

16. Mr. Walker-Smith

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what system is now in force in regard to routine cleaning and disinfecting of public telephones.

Mr. Burke

Standard arrangements provide that public telephone call offices and the instruments therein at Post Offices are cleaned and disinfected daily. In the London area, the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting varies from once to six times a week according to needs. Call offices in provincial areas are cleaned and disinfected three times weekly in towns and the immediate vicinity and once a week in rural areas. Standard arrangements were modified during the war, but instructions were issued in September last for a return to prewar standards as staff became available.

17. Major Leg ge-Bourke

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if his attention has been drawn to the telephone attachment for the recording of messages during absence of the renter now on exhibition at the Swiss Industries Fair, which is to be rentable by telephone users in Switzerland; and if similar facilities will be provided in this country.

Mr. Burke

I am aware of the device in question. The possibility of introduc- ing similar facilities in this country will be borne in mind, but, for the present, the resources of the Post Office must be concentrated in meeting the heavy demand for the provision of basic services.

22. Mr. Hardy

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he is aware of the numerous complaints on the Eccles exchange; and when he will be prepared to introduce the automatic system there.

Mr. Burke

Eccles is one of the last three manual exchanges in the Manchester area; its conversion to the automatic system has been approved and a site acquired; but in view of the building position it is not yet possible to say when the new exchange can be installed and brought into use. Meantime, I am considering how the standard of service can be improved.

25. Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether it is his intention to continue the present system of six monthly telephone accounts indefinitely or when he contemplates making a change.

Mr. Burke

It is the intention to return to the system of quarterly accounts as soon as an adequate margin of trained staff and office machinery is available to undertake the additional work. It is not possible at present to say when the change can be made.

26. Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he proposes to continue the war surcharge on telephone accounts indefinitely at the present rate, or when, and by what amount, he proposes to make a reduction in this surcharge.

Mr. Burke

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 2nd May to the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield).

Sir G. Fox

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will erect telephone kiosks at Hempton near Chinnor. Oxfordshire, for the use of six farmers who live nearby and have no telephone facilities, at Great Haseley, where there are 700 inhabitants and only six telephones, the post office telephone being only available during office hours, and in the market place, Henley-on-Thames; and approxi- mately on what dates, respectively, these kiosks will be erected and working.

Mr. Burke

Arrangements are in hand to provide a telephone kiosk in the Market Place, Henley-on-Thames, and another at Great Haseley. It is hoped that both kiosks will be erected and working in from two to three months' time. I should be prepared to provide a kiosk to serve Hempton and the nearby village of Henton, if the local authorities will pay the usual contribution of£4 a year for five years.