§ Sir Russell Johnston
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish a table showing the comparable costs in sterling of a local telephone call in each European Community country, making clear where the minimum duration per unit cost of such calls varies.
§ Mr. Forth
There is no standard measure which enables comparisons to be made between the cost of local calls in different European Community countries. For example, the average local call area is particularly large in the United Kingdom, which means that many calls at local rates here would be charged at long distance rates in other countries.
However, OFTEL has produced figures (which include exchanges line rentals and long distance calls) comparing both the cost of an average resident's telephone bill and the cost of an average business bill in the four European countries which are most readily comparable in terms of population and size. Taking the United Kingdom (British Telecom only) as index 100 (and excluding VAT) the figures are as follows:
Residential basket Business basket United Kingdom 100 100 France 76 83 Italy 97 120 Federal Republic of Germany 98 96(OFTEL: "International Comparisons of Telecommunications Prices" January 1990)