§ Sir R. Russell
asked the Postmaster-General if he will investigate the possibility of keeping letters for dialling telephone numbers within local areas, especially if the initial letters of subscriber trunk dialling code are not needed for local calls, in view of the fact that most telephone exchanges have a geographical significance which helps subscribers to remember names and numbers.
§ Mr. Benn
I appreciate that the present system of dialling codes in London and the five large cities, based on the first three letters of exchange names, is an aid to memory. I would assure the hon. Member that the possibility of retaining exchange names and letter codes in these places was very thoroughly investigated. As I explained in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) on 26th July, it has been concluded that letter codes would be incompatible with the full development of international dialling, and would be inadequate to meet the 403W expected growth of the system. These changes were explained more fully in the Paper, "All-Figure Telephone Numbers", of which I sent the hon. Member a copy on 26th July. I should perhaps add that as subscriber trunk dialling codes are preceded by the digit 0 they are in an entirely separate series from local dialling codes, and do not affect the availability of letter codes for local calls.