Telephone Service.

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office. – in the House of Commons at on 7 June 1921.

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Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Frome

34.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has carried out the suggestion made to his Department several months ago that inquiry should be instituted forthwith to ascertain why the development of telephonic facilities in the rural areas of this country has not kept pace with that of other agricultural countries; whether in the case of Norway the number of telephonic subscribers in rural districts has increased threefold in the last six years, an increase which the Norwegian Government reports as being due to improved Government facilities at low rates; whether similar progress has taken place in the rural areas of Denmark; and what further measures he is taking to put British agriculturists on an equal footing in this respect with their European competitors?

Photo of Mr Frederick Kellaway Mr Frederick Kellaway , Bedford

The question of rural telephones is being considered by the Select Committee now sitting on Telephone Organisation.

Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Frome

Has anything whatever been done in regard to this written suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman's Department sent several months ago, and intimating that it would be desirable to find out for the information of the Department what other countries are doing?

Photo of Mr Frederick Kellaway Mr Frederick Kellaway , Bedford

We have obtained recently the most up-to-date information as to what other countries are doing with regard to rural telephones.

Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Frome

Is the information being put before the Committee?

Photo of Mr Frederick Kellaway Mr Frederick Kellaway , Bedford

I will see that it is.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

When may we expect the report of the Committee?

Photo of Mr Frederick Kellaway Mr Frederick Kellaway , Bedford

I cannot say. That question should be addressed to the Chairman of the Committee.

Photo of Dr Bouverie McDonald Dr Bouverie McDonald , Wallasey

42.

asked the Post-master-General if he is aware that, while many bookmakers enjoy the privilege of five or six telephone lines, there are numbers of important business firms who cannot obtain a second installation, and that many subscribers of long standing who have been compelled to change their addresses are unable to have their telephones transferred to their new premises; and, in view of the increased charges necessitated by the new tariff, will he take urgent steps to remedy these grievances?

Photo of Mr Frederick Kellaway Mr Frederick Kellaway , Bedford

Applications for telephones are dealt with in order of priority. I regret that in a number of localities shortage of external plant or of exchange accommodation still make it impracticable to provide new installations, but the arrears of development due to the War are being overcome as rapidly as possible.

Photo of Dr Bouverie McDonald Dr Bouverie McDonald , Wallasey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many nursing and other institutions of great public utility cannot get the telephone put in?

Photo of Mr Frederick Kellaway Mr Frederick Kellaway , Bedford

Yes. I am aware that there are considerable inconveniences being caused.

Photo of Mr Robert Young Mr Robert Young , Newton

31.

asked the Postmaster-General whether, during the discussion of the possible sale of the Manx telephone service by the British Government, the position of the staff will be considered; and whether he can say what arrangements are likely to be made regarding their conditions and continuity of employment?

Photo of Mr Frederick Kellaway Mr Frederick Kellaway , Bedford

The general position is still as stated in my hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member's question of 22nd March. He may rest assured that the position of the staff will be fully considered if the proposals mature.