§ 40. Mr. DUKE
asked whether the Postmaster-General has been officially informed that the membership of the refreshment club in the Exeter post office is likely to be greatly reduced by reason of the proposed changes in the arrangements there, and that, on account of the smallness of the 1658 number of whole meals taken, the subsidy promised to the club will be of merely nominal amount; and whether he will take steps to ascertain whether the case is similar to those of the branch post offices and telephone exchanges in London, where an allowance for service is made, and suitable to be dealt with by that means?
§ Captain NORTON
Refreshment clubs are carried on successfully on the lines proposed for Exeter at offices where the staff is about the same in numbers, and even where it is much smaller, but the reason able support of the staff is, of course, an essential condition of success. The case is not parallel to those of the branch post offices and smaller telephone exchanges in London, where exceptional arrangements are made for small staffs because of their difficulty in getting home for meals. No such arrangements are made now in the provinces, and the system at Exeter is a relic of old arrangements which have been abolished practically all over the Kingdom.
§ Mr. DUKE
May I ask whether, as the local difficulties at Exeter have produced these results which have destroyed this provision, the hon. Gentleman will reconsider the position, and ascertain whether there are special local circumstances which make more applicable exceptional treatment of these men in Exeter?
§ Captain NORTON
Certainly, I will do that. I believe it is likely that there will be some changes later on, owing to the probable establishment of a sorting office at the station.