§ MR. E. W. HARCOURT
asked the Postmaster General, Whether his attention has been called to the case of a village in Oxfordshire, where application was made for the establishment of a guarantee savings bank, and where answer was made by the authorities of the Post Office that the application could not be complied with unless the present postmistress were removed; and, whether, any arrangement can be made to insure for the future the appointment of officials in remote rural post-offices who shall be competent to perform the duties that may be required of them in the case of the establishment of guarantee savings banks, so as to obviate the objection now felt to the making of applications for guarantee savings banks in country districts, under the fear of depriving existing postmasters and mistresses of their appointments?
§ MR. FAWCETT
Sir, I find it is the case, that in a village in Oxfordshire, where it was proposed to establish a savings bank under guarantee, it has been reported that the postmistress, 721 chiefly in consequence of her advanced age, is not qualified to undertake the new duties which would be imposed upon her. As I should be sorry if she were displaced from the position which she has long occupied, and as I think, on the other hand, it would be equally to be regretted that the inhabitants should be deprived of the advantages of a savings bank, I hope the difficulty may be met by supplying the postmistress with some assistance. This will increase, but I trust not materially, the amount of the guarantee. With regard to the important general question which has been raised by my hon. Friend, I hope that under the system which I explained a short time since in the House, and which allows a savings bank and money order office to be opened in any village under guarantee, the number of those banks may be so much increased, that I think it is very important that in future those who are appointed to village post offices should be competent to undertake, if required, savings banks and money order business. I shall, therefore, consider it necessary that those who may in future be appointed to these village post offices should possess the qualifications to which I have referred.