HC Deb 29 October 1947 vol 443 cc842-3
6. Mr. Quintin Hogg

asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been drawn to the demand that the rate for food parcels between the Dominions and this country should be reduced; and whether he has any statement to make.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, the postage rates on parcels from the other countries of the British Commonwealth are fixed by their respective postal authorities. The possibility of reducing that part of the postage which is credited to the United Kingdom Post Office was recently reviewed. It was, however, established that the amounts in question are insufficient to cover United Kingdom costs for the conveyance, handling and delivery of the parcels in this country, and I should not be justified in making any concession. As regards parcels from Canada, the Canadian Authorities reduced their postage rates on 1st January last. The South African Post Office reduced its rates on gift parcels by 2d. a pound on 15th September.

Mr. Hogg

Has the right hon. Gentleman made any representation or entered into any negotiations with his opposite number in the Commonwealth of Australia?

Mr. Paling

This matter was recently reviewed, and it was decided to make no change.

Sir Stanley Reed

Will the Postmaster-General give, as a set-off against these charges, the value of the large number of postal packets that are never delivered at all?

Mr. Paling

If the hon. Gentleman has any information about that, I should be very glad if he would let me have it. He has made a rather general statement, and if he would like me to do something about it, perhaps he will give me direct evidence, and I will see what I can do.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Can the Postmaster-General assure the House that he is not exercising influence on the Canadian Government to prevent them from reducing charges to this country.

Mr. Paling

I can give that assurance.

7. Mr. Hogg

asked the Postmaster-General what proportion of the sum of 5s. 10d. charged for small food parcels between Australia and this country is received by the British Post Office and what proportion by the Australian postal authorities.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

The British receipt is 1s. 7½d, and the Australian the rest.