asked the Postmaster-General when he expects the automatic telephone service in the London area to be restored to its pre-war standard of operation.
A comprehensive overhaul of the automatic telephone exchanges in London has recently been completed, and regular sampling of the service shows that the average standard of service is now rather better than pre-war. If the hon. Member has any particular cases of difficulty in mind, I shall be glad to make inquiry.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on the Abbey Exchange one frequently dials at least three times without anything happening at all, particularly when one is trying to get Temple Bar? Does he really think that that happened in pre-war days?
My information is that the average standard now is better than it was in pre-war days, but I will take notice of the hon. Member's complaint and write to him about it.
Does the right hon. Gentleman seriously contend that it is now easier to get either "Trunks" or "toll" than it was in pre-war days?
As a result of the sampling, that is the answer.
asked the Postmaster-General how many applicants are now waiting for telephones in the London area.
There were 153,656 on 30th September, 1950.
What is the position with regard to essential equipment needed to increase this service? Is this equipment still being exported? Is any more being made available for the home service?
It is not a matter of equipment; it is a matter of capital allocation. I would like to point out that last year, ending 30th September, we installed 109,785 telephones in this area.
Can my right hon. Friend explain the enormous demand for telephones from every part of the country, in view of the fact that this wicked Government are stifling private enterprise and have brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy?
In view of this very long waiting list, will the right hon. Gentleman explain why his officers are touring my constituency looking for new subscribers?
It is still necessary to ascertain the potential demand in any area.