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Government Departments (Telephone Calls)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 22 April 1943

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71.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in connection with free telephone calls for Whitehall Government Departments and services financed directly by the Exchequer which the Government are sanctioning for the duration of the war, he will give an assurance that each Government Department shall keep a monthly record of all outgoing calls, with a view to curtailing unnecessary calls and avoiding congestion throughout the country?

The need for rigid economy in the use of telephone communication facilities has been impressed on all Government Departments. While the suggestion made by my hon. Friend will be borne in mind, I doubt whether manpower considerations would permit of its adoption.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind, and not be astonished if I say, that I approve of the proposed action of the Government; and will he bear in mind that if Government Departments take as long with their telephone calls as they do over their correspondence, there will not be much service left for the general public?

Will my right hon. Friend save some of his powers of astonishment? Stranger things may come.

Can my right hon. Friend say what difference will be made in Post Office receipts owing to the decline in telegraphing and telephoning by Government Departments?