§ 48. Mr. HARRY LAWSON
asked if the right hon. Gentleman will state the number of leaflets or circulars which have been issued to the public stating that information as to the National Insurance Act can be obtained from any Customs and Excise officer; whether his attention has been drawn to a circular letter recently issued by the Customs and Excise authorities in structing the officers at certain offices in the Port of London to refer applicants to other Customs and Excise offices; how many Customs and Excise offices are thus removed from the list of approved offices at which any inquiries can be made; and whether, in view of the fact that the offices excluded lie in a thickly-populated area and amidst a population of dock and riverside workers, of whom the staff of the 219 excluded offices have a peculiar knowledge, he will cause the circular letter to be withdrawn?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I find on inquiry that under the terms of the circular referred to in the latter part of the question there are six offices in the Port of London at which the public are referred elsewhere for information in reference to the National Insurance Act. Two of these offices are immediately adjacent to the Custom House in Lower Thames Street; and inquiries are referred to the Long Room in that building. One is immediately opposite the Customs and Excise Office at 122, Minories, where continuous attendance is given during official hours for answering inquiries, etc. Two are in warehouses belonging to the Port of London Authority, to which the general public have no right of access, while the sixth is situated in the private premises of the Post Office at Mount Pleasant, and deals exclusively with work in connection with Foreign and Colonial Parcel Mails. I see no reason for withdrawing the circular in question. These unimportant exceptions to the rule that information can be obtained from any Customs and Excise officer would obviously not have been inserted in the numerous general notices referred to by the hon. Member.