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Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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asked the Postmaster-General how many applicants were waiting for telephones in Birmingham at the latest available date; and how long it will be before the existing shortage is overcome.

There were 15,180 on 30th September, 1950. These will be partially met by the provision of additional equipment and cables this year and next, but in view of our limited resources I regret that I cannot say when it will be possible to meet all outstanding applications.

Is the Minister satisfied that adequate progress is being made, especially in regard to the residential applicants, many of whom have been waiting for a very long time? Is he aware that there is a very long list?

We installed 8,600 telephones in this exchange area in the last year, which is certainly making an impact upon the problem. I regret to say that residential applicants will have to wait until we have met the needs of the more essential applicants.

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is likely to be considerably increased production activity in the Birmingham area as a result of the rearmament drive, and also that, as a result of the grave anxieties about raw materials, there is likely to be a considerable increase in the number of urgent calls?

In the allocation to the regions that is one of the considerations I am bearing in mind.

In recognising the necessity for restricting exports of telephone equipment, would my right hon. Friend bear in mind also the need to keep open foreign markets?