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Telephone Service

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 9 April 1952

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Exchange, Sale

1.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what are the reasons for the slow progress being made on the completion of the Sale telephone exchange; and if he will, in the interests of economy, proceed with the installation work more quickly in view of the fact that additional expenses are often occasioned by leisurely rates of construction and installation.

The building is now complete and installation of equipment should begin this month. All the work on this exchange is proceeding as quickly as possible.

Does my hon. Friend realise how grateful my constituents will be for the most excellent improvement in the speed with which this exchange is being completed?

Bristol

6.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what number of applications for telephones he has received since October last from Bristol; and how many have been supplied.

One thousand, seven hundred and thirty applications were received, and 1,414 telephones have been supplied.

Kiosk, Merstham

9.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will arrange for telephone kiosks to be installed on the new housing estate at Merstham, Surrey.

One kiosk will be provided as soon as a site is agreed upon with the local authority. New cables are required before other kiosks can be provided.

The Hartlepools

26.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many separate telephones and how many shared lines have been installed in The Hartlepools telephone district since 30th October, 1951.

27.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many applications for telephone installations were outstanding in The Hartlepools telephone district on 1st April, 1952.

There were 225 on the waiting list, and 75 were being provided or were under inquiry.

Kiosks, Glasgow (Damage)

30.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will state the extent of damage to telephone kiosks caused by vandalism in Glasgow in the past 12 months; and the cost of repairing the same.

In the past 12 months there were 393 cases of damage to the structure or equipment of kiosks in Glasgow, costing £1,653 to repair. In addition 7,000 panes of glass were broken, costing £1,170 to replace.

Will the hon. Gentleman consider schemes which could reduce some of this harm in Glasgow, and save the expense? Surely there is some way of dealing with this trouble and of saving the expense?

It is a very serious state of affairs, and we shall be grateful for any help given to us by anyone to help to cure it.

Will the hon. Gentleman approach the Secretary of State for Scotland to see whether education authorities could do something to bring this matter to the notice of the children?

That, in fact, has been done, but the education authorities are rather reluctant to give too many lectures on this subject—they have been asked to do so by many authorities—because they do not believe that this mischief is primarily done by the children.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that putting ordinary glass in these kiosks is quite unsuitable in some areas where these incidents repeatedly occur? Would he consider putting in cube glass—thick panes—that can stand up to wear and tear?

That is one of the matters now being considered—to what extent it is possible to strengthen these kiosks—but what one would like to see is a cessation of this wanton damage.

Brixton

32.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what is the latest total of outstanding applications for telephones at the Brixton exchange; and what were its figures for the corresponding dates in 1951 and 1950.

1,500 at 31st March, 1952. At the corresponding dates in 1951 and 1950 the numbers were 1,213 and 999.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this, as is the case in so many other respects, shows the steady deterioration there has been since the present Administration and he himself took over?

If the hon. Gentleman waits for the answer to the next Question, he may not be so pessimistic about the present Administration.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the deterioration started in 1950, and probably a good deal earlier?

33.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many new telephone subscribers were connected to the Brixton exchange during the past six months; and how many he estimates will be granted during the next six months.

There were 176 connected during the last six months. The estimate for the next six months is 110, but the rate of connection should be substantially increased towards the end of this year, when the work of extending the exchange is completed.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am still very pessimistic as a result of the answer that he has just given? Will he, perhaps, consider circulating this Question and answer to all the outstanding applicants for connection to the Brixton exchange?

Personal Case

35.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General when Mrs. Haddon, 268, Essex Road, who has been waiting for a telephone for four years, may expect to receive one.

I regret that a date cannot at present be given. A new cable is required, but because of many urgent commitments elsewhere, and the general limitation on capital development, it is not possible to undertake this work at present.

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that four years is a very long time to wait? Will he do his best to expedite this case, about which there are special circumstances?

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be able to put on the telephone immediately all those who have been waiting four years or more.

On a point of order. Is it not an abuse of Question time to put a Question like No. 35 down, considering that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have been waiting more than four years?

Further to that point of order. Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that Questions of this type were repeatedly put down to his predecessor, and that, if any abuse has occurred, it occurred in those days?

In answer to the point of order, the Question is in order. There may well have been special circumstances about this case of which I am unaware.