HC Deb 15 May 1957 vol 570 cc380-1
12. Mr. Allaun

asked the Postmaster-General why it is proposed to cut the postal deliveries in the Manchester and Salford postal area to one delivery on Saturdays whilst still retaining two deliveries for the London postal area.

16. Mr. Winterbottom

asked the Postmaster-General why it is proposed to give two deliveries to the London postal area on Saturdays and only one in the provinces.

Mr. Marples

At the present time, on Saturdays, London has three deliveries, and most other places have two deliveries. The suspension of one Saturday delivery everywhere has the effect which the hon. Members describe.

Mr. Allaun

As people in the provinces pay the same postal rates as do Londoners, why should they have a poorer service?

Mr. Marples

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman will find that they do have a poorer service, because when they post their letters in Manchester for London, and put a 2½d. stamp on them, they will have the advantage of the delivery in London.

Mr. Winterbottom

Will the Minister agree that there is inequality in the service as between London and the provinces? Why should he exercise, or continue to exercise, this preferential treatment in favour of London?

Mr. Marples

It is not really preferential treatment, and it was agreed to by the party opposite when they were in power—[Interruption.] For five years the party opposite could have altered this had they wished. London has always had an extra delivery, for two reasons. First, it is the capital and the volume of letters flowing into London is greater, and, secondly, the rate of flow is higher because London is a railway terminus. For that reason it has particular difficulties.

Sir R. Cary

Can my right hon. Friend say what difference this will make to postmen's duties in Manchester? Secondly, will post offices remain open on Saturday afternoons?

Mr. Marples

The changes will make quite worth-while improvements in the postman's life. Most postmen will still not enjoy a five-day week, but under these proposals about half the postmen will be on five or five-and-a-half day duties, as compared with only 10 per cent. at present, so postmen in Manchester will have an appreciable improvement. Manchester post offices which are at present open on Saturday afternoons will continue to be open on Saturday afternoons.

Mr. C. R. Hobson

Is the Postmaster-General aware that during our period of office, the service was related to volume of traffic and not to economy?

Mr. Marples

That is precisely what I said in my Answer.

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