HC Deb 14 March 1951 vol 485 cc1517-8
6. Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

asked the Postmaster-General why, in view of the shortage of manpower, he is placing an upper age limit of 40, or 45 in the case of ex-Service men, on the recruitment of postmen.

Mr. Hobson

The physical effort and exposure to weather involved in the majority of postmen's duties make it necessary to avoid an undue proportion of established postmen in the higher age groups if an efficient service is to be maintained. The postman's class already includes a high proportion of men over the age of 45, as well as of registered disabled men.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

In view of the fact that London Transport, for its bus services in the country, finds it possible to employ men over 40, will the hon.

Gentleman state what is the very much larger difficulty in the case of the Post Office?

Mr. Hobson

The fact that there is no parallel between the London Passenger Transport Board and Post Office postal services.

Mr. Molson

Would the Assistant Postmaster-General say whether this policy has been agreed in consultation with the Minister of Labour, who is trying to encourage the employment of older men?

Mr. Hobson

We are always in consultation with the Ministry of Labour on this question.

Mr. Harmar Nicholls

Is the Minister aware that his answer is not in accord with the answer which the Minister of Labour gave on an Adjournment debate?

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Could we have some candles on the back benches, Sir?

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Could you disabuse the minds of the engineers, Mr. Speaker, of the idea that we are such tender plants that we cannot stand the spring sunshine?

Mr. Speaker

That may be so, but, when the sun shines, the whole of that side of the House goes black, and I cannot see anyone. Hon. Members will remember that, in the old House, Members on the Front Bench were continually complaining that they could not see across the House because the sun shone in their eyes. We have to try this plan out, and do our best.

Mr. Ede

May I thank you, Sir, for seeing that there is no colour bar in this House?

Mr. Speaker

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman

Air Commodore Harvey

Reverting to the Question, does the hon. Gentleman really think that 45 years of age is too old for postmen to carry out their duties, and, if so, does he apply that principle to the Government Front Bench?

Mr. Hobson

I never said so, nor did the reply to the Question.