HC Deb 19 April 1898 vol 56 c411

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, why the Post Office now refuses to accept in this country small boxes of flowers when sent from abroad; when was the new rule made, and why some notice in regard to it was not published abroad, so that the great inconvenience and annoyance to the public it has caused might have been somewhat mitigated; and whether boxes of primroses can still be sent by post in this country?


My right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has asked me to answer this Question in his absence. The Post Office does not refuse to accept boxes of flowers sent from abroad, when the proper channel—the letter or parcel post—is used. It is only when they are irregularly sent by sample post that they are stopped and sent back. The transmission of consignments of cut flowers by sample post has never been provided for by the Postal Union, though for some time past the Post Offices of France and other countries, where there is a considerable industry in cut flowers, have sent to this country by sample post consignments of flowers which were not bonâ fide trade samples. An endeavour was made to alter the regulations of the Postal Union so as to establish the practice; and, pending the authoritative decision of the Union on the question, the Postmaster General refrained from returning such flowers to the country of origin, according to the strict rules. Since, however, the decision of the Union, that no exception is to be made in favour of cut flowers, the Postmaster General has been obliged to order the return of all packets erroneously sent into this country by sample post. The Order came into force on the 1st of this month, and full (six weeks) notice was given to the foreign post offices concerned. Primroses, like any other flower, can still be sent by post in this country.