§ 22. Mr. Jackson
asked the Postmaster-General what progress has been made in the last 12 months in the provision of public telephone facilities in areas of sparse population.
§ 60. Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Postmaster-General what consideration has been given to the possibility of meeting the emergency telephone needs of people in remote areas where kiosk provision cannot be given.
§ Mr. Benn
I am arranging as an experiment for weatherproof telephones, without the full kiosk structures, to be tried out in three places (two in Scotland and one near a roundabout on the Catterick Bypass if the Highway Authority concurs). These telephones will not have coin-boxes: they will be available for emergency, transfer charge, credit and incoming calls.
§ Mr. Jackson
I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. I ask him to bear in mind, in the provision of telephones in remote areas, the needs of the community as a whole and not simply base the matter on profit and loss.
§ Mr. Benn
That is not the basis on which kiosks in rural areas are dealt with. Six thousand unremunerative kiosks have been provided since 1949. In the next two and a half years £80,000 will be spent on more. This is an attempt to see whether one can meet an emergency need without losing such a great deal of money.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Where will the two be located in Scotland? How long does my right hon. Friend intend to run the experiment before he extends it?