asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will discuss with the Post Office the desirability of the introduction of free installation and provision of amplifiers in the telephones of those people who find this necessary because of hearing deficiency.
I have much sympathy with the underlying aim of the hon. Member's Question. The question of installation charges is, however, a matter for the Post Office, which is charged with responsibility for running its business as a commercial concern. Social services departments have powers to assist hearing-impaired people with telephone charges, including charges for amplification equipment. Where they are satisfied that a need exists, they have a duty to make arrangements to meet that need.The hon. Member may like to know that amplified handsets are currently available from the Post Office. I under- stand that inductive couplers are at present being designed and are likely to become generally available later this year.