25 years ago this week - Friday, February 28, 1986

JOBS could be up for grabs as telephone chiefs try to make a clean sweep of Northumberland’s public callboxes.

British Telecom is hoping that local firms and even the unemployed might put in bids for the task of cleaning kiosks.

At present the contract for the whole of the Newcastle Telephone Area is let to one firm.

But BT thinks it might get a better service by breaking the job down into districts.

“There are advantages in dealing with one firm,” said Telecom Northumberland Area Manager Mr Derek Parkinson. “But for some time, I have felt that it is not the best way to go about it.

“A Newcastle-based firm is much more likely to look after kiosks in the city but when there are staff shortages due to sickness, it is the remote rural ones which will get missed out.”

Mr Parkinson told members of the Morpeth and District Post and Telecom Advisory Committee: “New cleaning contracts are due to start in April but have yet been awarded.

“This time, I have been asked not for one contractor, but for four – one for Newcastle, one for the Morpeth area, one for the Hexham area and one for Alnwick including Berwick.”