asked the Assist ant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the Garden City Bakeries, Llanwern Road, Ely, Cardiff, which employ over 200 people have been waiting for many years for the provision of an additional telephone line and, in view of the fact that the service of these bakeries to the public is handicapped, what action he proposes to take.
Yes, Sir. An additional line will be provided later in the year. I am sorry that it cannot be put in earlier, because of the many other pressing demands on our resources and the number of prior applicants who are ahead of this firm.
I have been pressing in this matter for a long time and the Minister now tells me that an additional line is available but cannot be put in until the autumn. Can he give the reason why it cannot be put in until then?
I am sorry if I have not made it clear: an additional line will be available.
asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the percentage of applicants who have been waiting three years or longer for telephone facilities in each of the areas London, Lancashire, Cardiff and South Wales, Bristol and South-West, and the South of England, respectively.
Up-to-date figures for all areas are not readily available, but the position just over six months ago was approximately as follows:
|London||20 per cent.|
|North West England||20 per cent.|
|South Wales (including Cardiff)||24 per cent.|
|South West England (including Bristol)||20 per cent.|
|Southern England (excluding London)||10 per cent.|
Is the Minister aware that the number who have been waiting over three years ought not to be considerable and that we cannot, therefore, judge his merits by the general statement? Is he further aware that the delay in Wales Is now getting a thorough nuisance? HOW much extra money is being made available for the Welsh region?
I hope the hon. Member will judge my merits by the fact that in the past two years we have very considerably decreased the waiting list.
In the figures which my hon. Friend has given, why should the proportion be substantially higher in South Wales than in any other region which he referred to?
The main reason is that so many of the outstanding applications in South Wales are for people who are a considerable distance from the nearest point to which they can be connected. We have this year, however, increased the allocation for Wales by 20 per cent., and this will go up by a further 30 per cent.
Is the Assistant Postmaster-General aware that quite a number of applicants in South Wales are very close to telephone centres? Will the increased allocation of money that the hon. Gentleman is giving this year at least bring South Wales in line with the rest of the country?
Our whole idea is that it should do so. One of our difficulties is whether with a given amount of money we should connect, say, five people who can be readily connected, or one who may have been waiting much longer and who lives a greater distance from a connection point.