HC Deb 18 February 1948 vol 447 cc1130-1
8. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the delay in the delivery of gift food parcels arriving in this country from East Africa; and whether in view of the fact that such parcels carry customs declarations and that there is no need to examine them if no dutiable goods are listed, he will arrange for steps to be taken to expedite their delivery.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

I regret that all parcels from overseas have been subject to delay over Christmas and New Year owing to the very large number received. Although some check of the accuracy of Customs declarations is necessary, food parcels, with few exceptions, are now being released within a few days of arrival at Postal Customs depots.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Is the Postmaster-General aware that an undertaking was given that in the case of gift parcels sent by air with special Customs delivery and examination forms there would be no delay, but that, in fact, delays of up to a month have occurred in the case of food parcels?

Mr. Paling

I think the longest delay occurred at Christmas and the New Year. We are catching up with it now, and I think deliveries will be back to the normal time.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that when these undertakings are given they are honoured so that perishable foodstuffs are not sent under a misapprehension?