HC Deb 22 May 1957 vol 570 cc1217-8
38. Mr. Lewis

asked the Postmaster-General the average cost involved in preparing and sending out a telephone bill to a subscriber.

Mr. Thompson

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?

Mr. Thompson

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?

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