In 1955–56 (the last year for which detailed data are available), the total cost per telephone bill rendered, including the collection of the amounts due, accountancy and overheads, was about 10s.
§ Mr. Lewis
Do we understand from that reply that 10s. per telephone bill is the cost of preparing the account? Is the Minister aware that at a trade union conference recently of Post Office staff it was stated that if there were a reduction in telephone charges there could be quite a lot more revenue for the Post Office? If the people who are doing the work daily have said that, will the Minister consider reducing telephone charges in order to make a bigger profit?
The hon. Gentleman is mixing up his part of the story. The Question deals with the cost of preparing and collecting telephone accounts. I have given the hon. Gentleman the best information I have.
§ Mr. Shinwell
If it costs as much as this to send out the bills, would it not be better to economise by not sending them out at all?