16 MAY 1992, Page 23

Hull down

IT IS A PLEASURE to agree with John Prescott, my fellow-member of the Hull Telephone Fan Club. He has been telling the House of Commons, where he repre- sents Hull East, how much he prefers his local telephone service to British Telecom's, and why can't there be more like it? Hull's is the last of the municipal telephone companies. All the others were taken over, finishing up in the Post Office and thence in British Telecom. The missed chance, when Telecom was privatised, was to bring them back again. Instead, Tele- com, like gas, was sold off in its monopolis- tic image. This week we shall see that infla- tion has bounced. Privatised monopolies and private oligopolies are holding prices up — look at your insurance premiums, or bank charges. Where there is real competi- tion, as in clothing and footwear, inflation has practically disappeared. Mr Prescott and I must get Hull to start a municipal bank.