asked the Postmaster-General whether he is yet able to announce when a new scheme for the provision of telephone kiosks in rural areas will become operative.
I am glad to say that a quota system, the details of which are being developed in collaboration with the representatives of rural local authorities, will commence on 1st April. The new arrangements will supersede the present arrangements, both in regard to existing and new rural kiosks, as from that date.
I am sure the House will welcome the statement by the Postmaster-General, but will he say what will happen to the guarantees and commitments already entered into by parish councils, and what method will be used in the future for dealing with priority applications?
We intend to make use of the rural councils for determining priority as to where the kiosks shall be put.
Will the Minister publish through the parish and district councils full details of the scheme? Many people have been disappointed for more than three years now.
We will do so at the earliest possible moment.
When the right hon. Gentleman said that the new plan would supersede the existing kiosks, did he mean that he intended to close some of them?
No, Sir. There was an arrangement in the past that so much money should be guaranteed for kiosks. That arrangement will be superseded.
Will the Minister say what will happen to the present commitments of parish councils with regard to those guarantees?
We shall not expect them to pay after 1st April.
asked the Postmaster-General whether he will provide a telephone kiosk at Kinsham near Bredon, as this rural area has no public telephone, so that residents can summon a doctor in case of emergency, and also communicate with the resident midwife.
The provision of a telephone kiosk at Kinsham will be considered under the quota scheme to which I referred in my reply this afternoon to my hon. Friend, the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Watkins).
Is the Postmaster-General aware that this is a No. 1 priority and that there are no means of communicating with doctors and district nurses? It is a matter in which, in view of the difficulties, I should be glad if we could have priority.
If it has such a high priority, I have no doubt that the rural council responsible will see to it.