HC Deb 07 March 1946 vol 420 cc473-4
2. Lieut.-Colonel Rees-Williams

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the sub-post office at Selhurst Road, S.E.25, was closed on 30th October, 1945, thereby causing considerable inconvenience in the neighbourhood; and whether he will re-open this office without further delay.

The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. Burke)

As my Noble Friend has explained in correspondence with the hon. and gallant Member, he is anxious to reopen this sub-post office as soon as a candidate with suitable premises to offer is forthcoming. At the moment the premises offered require reconditioning, but I hope with the assistance of the local council to surmount this difficulty.

Lieut.-Colonel Rees-Williams

Is my hon. Friend aware that the delay in reopening this sub-post office is causing considerable dissatisfaction in the district? If he cannot get anyone to take it on as a sub-post office why does he not open a post office, and staff it with permanent postal officials?

Mr. Burke

It is not merely a question of getting someone. We have a number of applicants. It is a question of finding premises as well. That is the difficulty here.

16. Mr. Lipson

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will in future consult the appropriate local authority before deciding to close a sub-post office in its area.

Mr. Burke

No, Sir. I think the Post Office must retain full responsibility in this matter. No office is closed without a careful review of all the circumstances, including, of course, the convenience of the inhabitants of the locality affected.

Mr. Lipson

Is my hon. Friend aware that my Question does not refer to the matter of responsibility? I asked whether he would not consult local authorities. Surely, they have the right to be consulted on a matter which affects them?

Mr. Burke

The Post Office has to have a consistent policy, and to consult every local authority means that the policy would not be consistent.

Mr. Butcher

Does my hon. Friend really suggest that this public service opens and closes offices without consultation with anybody?

Mr. Burke

It is not without consultation. All the circumstances are reviewed very carefully before a decision is made.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Is not the local authority really the best body through whom the voices of the electors can be heard? Will the Minister therefore give an undertaking to get into touch with the local authorities when these matters come up?

Mr. Burke

I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that it would be very unlikely that a local authority would agree in any circumstances to have a post office closed down.

Mr. Lipson

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I give notice that I intend to raise this matter on the Adjournment.