HC Deb 04 July 1956 vol 555 cc1304-5
10. Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will now give an undertaking that there will be no increase in postal or telephone charges for at least twelve months.

19. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Postmaster-General whether, to assist the campaign to stabilise prices, he will give an assurance that postal charges will not be further increased during the next twelve months.

Mr. Alport

I would refer to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave last Wednesday to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis).

Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

Although that reply, of which I am aware, is all to the good, would my hon. Friend not consider going further than the undertaking of six months and give an undertaking that there will not be any increase in postal charges for twelve months?

Mr. Alport

It has been and still is the policy of my right hon. Friend to ensure that the Post Office pays its way on the basis of contemporary costs, while trying at the same time to achieve maximum efficiency and economy, and that will continue to be the principal dominating my right hon. Friend's policy in future.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Cannot the Assistant Postmaster-General go one stage further and give a twelve months' undertaking instead of a six months' undertaking, which sounds all the more suspicious, in view of the alleged success of the Government's economy policy? Cannot he extend the undertaking?

Mr. Alport

If the hon. and gallant Member could forecast what the level of wages during the next twelve months will be, perhaps one would be able to give a different answer.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the increase before the last one was imposed by the Postmaster-General due to manipulation by the Treasury, and can he give an undertaking that there will not be manipulation by the Treasury?

Mr. Alport

I cannot accept the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation of those events. It is not true, as he, from his own experience, should know.