HC Deb 05 February 1947 vol 432 cc1761-3
38. Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many parcels of rationed foods have, up to the latest convenient date, been dispatched by persons resident in this country for forwarding to relatives and friends in Germany under the recently announced scheme; what proportion of these have already been forwarded out of this country; what is the average time taken between date of dispatch and date of receipt by the addressee in Germany; and what complaints he has received about such parcels failing to be delivered altogether.

Mr. J. Hynd

These parcels can be sent either through the "Save Europe Now" organisation or by the newly restored parcel post to Germany. By 15th January "Save Europe Now" had received about 40,000 food parcels for forwarding to Germany. Of these 1,400 had left this country by the end of January, a further 12,500 are due to leave within the next week or so, and I understand that "Save Europe Now" hope to ship the balance by the end of this month. It is unlikely that any parcels have yet arrived at their destinations. Since January 15th, over 6,000 seven lb. relief parcels were sent to Germany in the first two despatches by parcel post; I cannot say how many of these contained food. I can trace only one complaint about non-delivery and that, as the hon. Member knows, is being investigated.

Mr. Michael Foot

Is not the main difficulty due to the fact that the organisation in Hamburg for distributing these parcels has only facilities for distributing about 1,000 a day, that it has got overburdened and overworked in the past two months distributing 50,000 clothing parcels sent by the "Save Europe Now" organisation, and can the Chancellor of the Duchy offer any help to the organisation in Hamburg in speeding up these deliveries?

Mr. Hynd

It is quite true that facilities are available to the organisations in Germany for handling about 1,000 parcels per day, but the general facilities in Germany for this purpose are limited. The opening of the parcel post service in Germany to individuals should facilitate distribution.

Mr. Stokes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that something of the order of 40,000 parcels are waiting in Hamburg now for forwarding arrangements, and in view of the terrible weather conditions at the present time cannot something be done immediately to get a move on?

Mr. Hynd

I am not aware of the actual number in Hamburg, but the German organisation responsible for distributing these parcels does insist that they should be registered and insured before they are injected into the German parcel post system. Anything we can do to speed up the matter will be done.