Party Lines

Oral Answers to Questions — Telephone Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd November 1955.

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Photo of Mr Ronald Russell Mr Ronald Russell , Wembley South 12:00 am, 2nd November 1955

asked the Postmaster-General what proportion of applicants for telephones who are compelled to share a party line are former subscribers transferred owing to a change of home or business.

Dr. Hill:

This information is not available and could only be obtained by special scrutiny of a large number of records.

Photo of Mr Ronald Russell Mr Ronald Russell , Wembley South

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that, eventually, this sharing of lines will be entirely voluntary, possibly with the addition of some substantial reduction in the telephone rental?

Dr. Hill:

It is hoped that eventually the sharing of lines may not be necessary, but, for the present, it should be borne in mind that half a million people are enabled to obtain the telephone service today by virtue of the shared line system.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is some confusion and dissatisfaction about this, that where the subscriber transfers from one house to another he is, in some cases, asked to sign a new agreement, and that when he signs the new agreement he loses the exclusive use of the line and has to share it with another subscriber? Could not the right hon. Gentleman have the matter looked at more closely to see that the undertakings given are carried out?

Dr. Hill:

I will look into the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman, but he will recall that since 1948 it has been an obligation on new and removing residential subscribers to accept sharing.