MR. ANGUS SUTHEELAND (Sutherland)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether his attention has been called to the great public inconvenience caused by the withdrawal of the Post Office sorting van from mail trains on the Highland Railway to the north of Tain; whether it is the case that letters posted at certain post offices in the said locality, and addressed to local offices only a few miles distant, are not delivered until next day, and are meanwhile carried far past their destination by trains that stop at every station, and carried back over the same ground on the following day, thus causing a delay in delivery in many cases of over 24 hours; and whether, in view of the injury thus done to the trade of the district, the Postmaster General will consider the advisability of continuing the Post Office sorting van on to Wick, or to Helmsdale at least?
A LORD OF THE TREASUEY (Sir H. MAXWELL,) Wigtonshire
In the absence of the Postmaster General, I have to say that the answer of my right hon. Friend is as follows:—I am aware of the circumstances to which the hon. Member calls my attention. The inconvenience complained of has, I think, been much exaggerated. No evidence of injury to trade has been laid before me, and the correspondence affected is very small in amount. Having regard to the very large expenditure already incurred in maintaining the postal ser- 402 vice in this district, I cannot hold out any expectation that the sorting tender will again be run in the mail train north of Tain unless the railway company are prepared to run it without requiring additional payment.
§ MR. A. SUTHERLAND
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the postal facilities, instead of having been increased, are decreased?
§ SIR H. MAXWELL
I am unable to express an opinion, as the matter does not affect the Department with which I am concerned.