Technical Equipment (Manufacture)

Oral Answers to Questions — Telephone Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st June 1967.

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Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West 12:00 am, 1st June 1967

asked the Postmaster-General what plans he has in hand to encourage the Post Office to manufacture more of its own technical equipment.

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

I have at present no plans to extend the manufacture by the Post Office of its own equipment.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the expansion of the Post Office has been seriously hampered by the inadequacy of private enterprise in responding to the opportunities? Would he not further agree that the Post Office should consider endeavouring to set the pace in this respect?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

My hon. Friend may not be aware that the Post Office at present owns four factories and 20 per cent. of the output is devoted to manufacturing our own equipment. We are taking power, if given by Parliament, in the Corporation Bill, which will come before the House next Session, to enable us to manufacture everything that we require.

Photo of Mr Anthony Gardner Mr Anthony Gardner , Rushcliffe

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are considerable fears in the telecommunications industry about possible redundancy, particularly in one firm? Is he satisfied that the staff of the industry as at present constituted is capable of meeting future requirements of the Post Office?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Without commenting on the ability of the industry to meet our requirements, I can point out to the House that we have referred the telecommunications industry to the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation as its first job. We hope to have its report this year.

Photo of Mr Stratton Mills Mr Stratton Mills , Belfast North

If the Minister blames the telephone supply industry for delays, why has not the Post Office inserted a penalty clause in the contract?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

We do not want to make any greater difficulties. The position is simply that the industry does not have the capacity. As I have said earlier, however, the industry is making great efforts, especially in the development areas, to improve its capacity.