HC Deb 19 March 1947 vol 435 cc390-1
24. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many applicants there are on the waiting list for the installation of telephones in the Orpington area; and if he will take immediate steps to meet their requirements.

Mr. Burke

There are about 1,500 applicants waiting for telephone service at the seven exchanges serving the Orpington urban district council area. To provide for all of these, it will be necessary to lay over 12 miles of underground duct and nearly 50 miles of cable, as well as to provide a new exchange to relieve the present Orpington exchange. This extensive work is in hand, and is being pressed forward to the limit of our resources in manpower and. materials.

Sir W. Smithers

In order to help the situation, will the hon. Gentleman do two things? Will he see that the removal of instruments from houses where there is a change of tenancy is stopped, and will he make an appeal to the public coming into new houses to send in any redundant instruments?

Mr. Burke

With regard to the first question, it would not be fair to leave a telephone in a house for a new occupier if there are other people who have been waiting for a telephone in the same district.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is there not an extraordinary expenditure of labour in removing telephones from houses when a new tenant comes in, and would it not be better to leave them there so that that labour might be saved?

Mr. Burke

It is an expenditure of labour, and, on the face of it, it does seem rather unwise, but, if there is a doctor or some other person in urgent need, and another person happens to get a telephone simply because he is a new tenant of a house, that would constitute unfairness to the doctor.

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