HC Deb 27 March 1882 vol 268 cc6-7

asked the Postmaster General, Whether he is now in a position to state the intentions of the Government with respect to the introduction of a Parcels Post into this Country?


When my hon. Friend asked me a Question on this subject at the beginning of the Session, I stated that I was about shortly to submit certain proposals to the Treasury for the establishment of a parcels post. These proposals have now been sanctioned by the Treasury, and the House may, I think, be interested to hear their character. It is proposed that parcels should be posted at any post-office of the United Kingdom where letters are received, and that, the postage being prepaid, they should be delivered free of further charge wherever letters are delivered. The maximum weight will be 7 lbs., for which the proposed charge will be 1s., less rates of postage being charged for parcels of lower weight. If this inland parcels post is established, it will immediately be linked with the international parcels post which is now in operation. This will enable parcels to be posted from any part of the United Kingdom to every other country in Europe except Russia, and to Egypt and Asiatic Turkey. I will not trouble the House by giving details of the rates of this international parcels post; but I may state, as an illustration, that if our arrangements are carried out, a parcel not exceeding three kilogrammes (about 6½lbs.) in weight may be posted from any part of the United Kingdom to any part of France for a charge which cannot exceed 1s. 9d. I believe great advantages will result to the entire community from the establishment of a parcels post; and I am glad to think that the rural districts will largely participate in these advantages, because, at the present time, if it be desired to send a parcel to some village away from a railway station, it is often impossible to ascertain beforehand when the parcel will arrive, and how much the person who receives it will have to pay for its delivery. I will only further add that steps have been already taken to put the Post Office in communication with the Railway Companies, with the object of giving effect to the scheme. It will be obvious to the House that time will be required to complete the necessary arrangements for introducing so important an extension of the present postal system as a parcels post. I will, however, give an assurance that no effort shall be wanting on the part of the Post Office to bring the scheme into operation with the least practicable delay.