Telecommunications Programme (Finance)

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry 12:00 am, 13th July 1967

asked the Postmaster-General if he will commission a study to determine the practicability of financing the proposed telecommunications programme from the private capital market.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are a very large number of people who believe that the telecommunication activities of the Post Office are pre-eminently suitable for free enterprise? Would he not, therefore, commission the study I have suggested as a very useful preliminary move in developing such a debate?

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

This is a point that ought to be looked at; I quite agree with the hon. Gentleman. He may have seen an article by Sir Ronald Edwards in the current Lloyds Bank Review. Various replies are possible to this article, but I think that it is a matter which can be looked at in the context of the financing of the nationalised industries.

Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden

Do we take it from that reply that there is to be a serious investigation into this possibility?

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

No. All I am saying is that this is the kind of question which should be looked at in the context of the long-term financing of the nationalised industries.