HC Deb 04 March 1897 vol 46 cc1609-10

I bog to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether the Post Office authorities intend to alter the present practice of sorting letters from the West India and Cape mails in a travelling post office en route for London, and have determined that the country letters shall be detained at Plymouth for sorting, and the London letters be sent straight to London; what is the reason for this decision; and, whether he will undertake that such change will not be made without full opportunity being given to the Chamber of Commerce and Mercantile Association at Plymouth to point out the strong objections on public grounds to any such change?


The Postmaster General has already explained to the hon. and learned Member in a letter that there is no scheme for discontinuing altogether the present practice of sorting in a travelling post office mails from the West Indies and South Africa landed at Plymouth. It will be readily understood, however, that the amount of benefit to be derived from railway sorting varies considerably, according to the time of day or night at which the mail packets may arrive; and as it has been found that costly arrangements for sorting in a travelling post office have sometimes been carried on without adequate advantage in the delivery of letters, the Post Office is considering the question of restricting this sorting to those cases in which there will be a distinct gain to the mails. Such a restriction would not in any way prejudice the postal accommodation of Plymouth; but any representations on the subject from the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce shall receive careful consideration.