HC Deb 23 March 1949 vol 463 cc362-4
37. Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison

asked the Postmaster-General when he proposes to restore a system of early postal deliveries and late collections comparable to those existing before the last war.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer given to the right hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Assheton) on 9th March.

Colonel Hutchison

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that very great inconvenience and, indeed, loss of money is being occasioned by the failure to provide proper postal facilities to industry throughout the country? Will he revise the matter again, as there is plenty of money with which to do it?

Mr. Paling

I am aware that there is some inconvenience because of lack of collections, but the main reason is lack of manpower.

Major Tufton Beamish

Cannot part of the £20 million profit the Post Office made last year be used to make the service as cheap and as efficient as it was under Tory "misrule" before the war?

Mr. Wilson Harris

Does this mean that we shall have to await the return of a Conservative Government to get a respectable postal service? Would not that possibly be a rather high price to pay? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister of Labour yesterday stated that there were 360,000 unemployed? Could not he secure some of them to deliver the letters?

Mr. Paling

My answer to the first part of the question is that I hope not.

Mr. Grimston

Are we to understand from the answer of the right hon. Gentleman that he does not contemplate any improvement at all in the present services?

Colonel Hutchison

In view of the unsatisfactory situation, I beg to give notice that I shall endeavour to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.

44. Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that letters posted at mid-day in the Central Lobby of the House of Commons do not reach Cheshire until the second post of the following day; and whether, in view of the fact that similar delays occur throughout other parts of the country, he will state what steps he is taking to improve the postal service.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

I am aware and much regret that the hon. and gallant Member has suffered inconvenience and annoyance from delays in the post which should not have occurred. I am taking all practicable steps to improve matters.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

Is the Minister aware that before the war when postage was only l½d., letters posted in the Knutsford division in the morning were delivered in London the same evening? Would the right hon. Gentleman therefore consider restoring the postage to l½d., in view of the fact that letters now take three to five times as long to be delivered at nearly twice the cost?

Mr. Paling

I am afraid that the question of restoring the postage to 1½d. is too big to be dealt with at the moment. I will look at the other matter. I have already admitted that the services are less but I hope to improve them when the occasion permits.

Mr. Erroll

Does the Minister realise that the service between London and North Cheshire is absolutely deplorable?

Mr. Paling

No, Sir, I do not admit any such thing. What I do admit is that some of the evidence which the hon. Member has sent me is probably connected with the same fault as that raised by the hon. and gallant Member.