HC Deb 29 April 1898 vol 56 cc1539-40

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that the new regulations regarding the re-direction of letters are causing considerable irritation and annoyance; under what authority does he now charge a guinea per annum for such re-direction after 12 months, seeing that hitherto a renewal notice of removal has been deemed sufficient; and whether he will be satisfied to impose a fine of, say, one penny for re-directed letters after 12 months have elapsed rather than compel every person changing his residence to pay a guinea under penalty of letters being returned to the senders, residing perhaps in Australia or in other Colonies and countries?


The new regulation referred to was introduced with the view of affording additional accommodation to the public, and the Postmaster General is not aware that it is causing irritation or annoyance. Hitherto the Post Office has not undertaken to re-direct letters for longer than one year from the date of removal, but under the new regulations it is prepared to continue such re-direction on payment of an annual fee of one guinea. The Postmaster General is advised that as official re-direction is not required by law, but is a matter of Departmental arrangement, he is within his right in declining to re-direct letters free of charge for an indefinite period. A charge of one penny on each re-directed letter would in many cases amount to a much larger sum than a guinea a year, while in other cases it would not prove sufficient to repay the Post Office for the labour involved in keeping the change of address perpetually on record.