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Telephone Apparatus And Exchange Equipment (Tenders)

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 27 March 1962

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asked the Postmaster-General what further tenders have been invited for telephone apparatus and exchange equipment since his announcement that orders to the value of £450,000 for telephone apparatus had been placed with firms outside the bulk supply agreement; and with what results.

Since the Answer I gave to the hon. Member on 21st November, 1961, tenders have been issued to a value of £456,500 for exchange equipment, and £700,000 for telephone apparatus. Of those on which adjudication has been completed, tenders to a value of £134,500 for exchange equipment and £83,000 for telephone apparatus have been declined on grounds of price. Contracts to a value of £8,500 have been placed for telephone apparatus. The remainder of the tenders to a value of nearly £1 million are under consideration.

This is a favourable trend. May I take it that the Postmaster-General is making an earnest attempt to broaden the field of supply and that, in accordance with the Third Report of the Public Accounts Committee, he may eventually terminate the ring system?

The Post Office is now, I think for the first time, taking serious advantage of the 10 per cent. reservation clauses. I hope that by so doing we shall infuse an element of competition into our arrangements which will be to the economic advantage of the Post Office and of the taxpayers.