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Reading

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 27 October 1954

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25.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the number of applicants for telephone connections on the waiting list of the Reading area for a convenient and comparable date in 1950, 1952 and 1954.

The following are the figures for 30th September of each year, excluding applications in course of provision or under inquiry:

1950.4,457
19525,130
19543,633

This improvement has been made in spite of 5,000 new applications during the past 12 months.

While it is pleasant to receive information about such an improvement, may I ask my hon. Friend whether he is aware that there still remain on the waiting list a number of people who have been waiting for seven years or more?

Yes, I am aware of that. I must inform my hon. Friend, however, that the percentage of people who are waiting in the Reading area is considerably less than the national average.

26.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the sum sanctioned for capital expenditure in the Reading area for the years 1951–52, 1952–53, 1953–54 and 1954–55.

Capital investment in the Reading telephone area in 1951–52 to 1953–54 was £370,000, £472,000 and £618,000 respectively. In the present year it will be of the order of £630,000.

Can my hon. Friend give me an assurance that this will enable the labour employed there to work overtime without exceeding the Estimates?

Is the Assistant Postmaster-General aware that there is a good deal of complaint among people who are rehoused when they find that they are unable to be supplied with a telephone although they have had the advantage of such a service in their former homes?

Much depends on the local position in the area to which they move, but we try to help these people in every possible way.

Is not the Assistant Postmaster-General of the opinion that it is about time that a little more capital was allowed the Post Office to enable it to get on with the job of providing telephones, because at the present rate some people will not get telephones for five years?

If the right hon. Gentleman studies the Estimates he will see that the amount allocated for the provision of telephones has been very considerably increased during the present year.

Will the hon. Gentleman suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that before the Government allow the export of capital for holiday purposes he should be given more for the purpose of installing telephones?