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Capital Expenditure

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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5.

asked the Postmaster-General on what basis he allocates capital expenditure in respect of telephone services in the various postal areas.

In allocating the limited capital resources of the Post Office, provision must be made on a national basis for the installation and accommodation of additional plant to cater for the growth of traffic in the trunk and overseas services. For local services, which absorb the bulk of the capital expenditure, allocations are made to the Post Office regions, and through them to the telephone areas, on the basis of the best practical distribution of resources, having regard to the relative present and prospective needs.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of these areas believe that the allocations finally made to them are on the basis of previous requirements and that that is not satisfactory, in view of changing populations and changing emphasis?

I had some reason to think that myself, but I have made certain alterations and I think that, in future, allocations will be found more in accord with potential demand.

Would the Postmaster-General not now consider approaching the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a re-allocation of capital resources for the telephone service, as it is one of the most effective instruments in an efficient production and export drive?

That is always in my mind, but I am afraid I should not have the approval of the House in asking for the release of building materials and building labour to construct exchanges.