HC Deb 11 April 1946 vol 421 cc2070-1
20. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the delays which occur in the delivery of telegrams in country districts and of the fact that such telegrams are sometimes delivered by post on the day after their despatch; and when it is expected that improvements in the telegraph service will be practicable.

Mr. Burke

Telegraph delivery by hand in country districts ceases at 7 p.m. If a message cannot be disposed of by telephone after that time, it is either posted or held over for delivery by hand the next day, whichever is the quicker means of getting it to the addressee. Every effort is, however, made to effect delivery of telegrams of a vitally urgent nature. Although it will take some time to achieve prewar standards, the quality of the telegraph service has materially improved over the last few months, and I am confident that the improvement will be progressive.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that telegrams are sent with the object of getting messages accurately and quickly despatched, and that the cost is not low? In those circumstances, can he justify taking a high fee for a telegram, and then delivering it by post 17 or 18 hours afterwards?

Mr. Burke

There are certain difficulties in country districts. Sometimes telegrams arrive late at one office, and are transmitted to an office where there is no means of delivery. People cannot be kept waiting in country post offices for the purpose of delivering an occasional message.

Major Digby

Is the Minister aware that a telegram arrived by post at 11.30 one morning for me, having been sent the previous day, and that as I am on the telephone this was not a very speedy way of delivering the message?