HC Deb 07 July 1948 vol 453 cc343-4
4. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Postmaster-General what steps he proposes to take in order to improve the postal communications between the West Indies and this country in view of the delays of upwards of 10 weeks in some cases, an example of which was brought to his notice recently through the London Postal and Tele-communications Advisory Committee of the London Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Hobson

As my right hon. Friend has explained in correspondence with my hon. Friend, there were serious delays to air mail for the West Indies earlier in the year, owing to circumstances outside his control, but there has been a marked improvement, and I hope that there will be no further difficulty. Two instances of 10 weeks delay to which my attention has been drawn were not, however, due to irregularities in the operation of the air services, and the letters in question must, I fear, have been mistreated in the post; on that assumption the air mail fees have been refunded to the senders.

Mr. Cooper

Does my hon. Friend realise that delays are still occurring? Does he realise how inadequate the postal services are to parts of the West Indies? Will he take steps to look into this matter with a view to improving communications as rapidly as possible, because Colonial development cannot take place unless there are good communications?

Commander Noble

Is every opportunity taken of direct sea mail to the West Indies?

Mr. Hobson

Every opportunity is taken. The delay at the beginning of the year was due to a certain extent to the grounding of the Tudor aircraft. So far as the supplementary question of my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper) is concerned, I will look into that matter.