§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been called by his officials to the fact that a registering and adding machine, thoroughly reliable and complete in itself, is now in use in the principal banking houses in London and other European capitals; whether he is aware that the proprietors of this invention offer any reasonable guarantee that the machine, will do the work of the Postal Savings Bank so rapidly and well that 100 persons using these machines will perform the 185 duties of 300 persons now employed; whether, without discharging any person now employed in the Savings Bank, he will, if the facts be as stated, not employ the additional persons arranged for in this year's Estimates in the Savings Bank; whether he is aware that, though several of these registering machines are on trial in the Money Order Office, opposition is offered to their general use by a high official in the Savings Bank; whether he will examine for himself the machine and consult the leading bankers as to their doing the work effectively as asserted; and whether he will accept evidence and examine witnesses on the question of the machines being specially adapted for Savings Bank work.
§ MR. HANBURY
The use of these machines affects not only the Post Office but other Departments, such as the Inland Revenue and the Customs. I am afraid that public Departments do not always avail themselves of modern improvements as early as private firms; and I will make inquiry as to how far the machines are really calculated to save labour and expense in particular Departments, and how far they are proving useful in the case of private firms doing similar work. As regards the Savings Bank, I am informed that the machines have been tried there, and that they have been found to be of little or no advantage in that particular Department, as so small a portion of its work consists in merely adding up columns of figures. Six were some months ago purchased by the Post Office for use in the accountants offices in Edinburgh and Dublin and at the money order office in London, and further trials are about to be made at the larger provincial post offices. The results so far have been very satisfactory.