§ MR. HENRY J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the keepers of receiving offices are now being required to pay for the provision and fixing of a new kind of wall boxes at their offices; what is the cost of such boxes, and the approximate cost of fixing; does the Department require that these boxes shall be supplied by particular makers, and could they be provided at a much lower rate by open competition; and what are the salaries usually paid to the keepers of the smaller class of receiving offices?
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
The present rule is that the letter boxes at sub-post offices should be cleared from the outside, whereas formerly this was done from inside the office. Sub-postmasters are therefore required to provide letter boxes opening from the outside only—the object being to prevent all access to the contents of the box by assistants or others inside the office. But they may fix any kind of letter box they prefer, provided it complies with the requirements of the Department in this and other respects. As an assistance to sub-postmasters, who wish it, the address of a maker of letter boxes is furnished to them—who supplies one size 1519 at £2 2s. 0d, and a larger size at £2 10s. 0d. The fixing of such boxes would cost from £1 to £1 10s. as a rule. Proper boxes could not, it is thought, be supplied at lower prices than these. Sub-postmasters throughout the Kingdom are remunerated on a fixed scale of payment which regulates their salaries in accordance with the amount of the business done. The minimum salary allowed by the scale is £5 a year.
§ MR. WILSON
Then if certain keepers of offices are being required by surveyors to provide boxes at more than £2 2s., that is in excess of the requirements of the Department?
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
It is one of the conditions of their employment, and though the scale of payment is low there are abundant applications for the appointments.