HC Deb 23 July 1963 vol 681 cc1255-6
29. Mr. Bullard

asked the Postmaster-General how the experimental reorganisation of the parcel post service in East Anglia is working.

Mr. Mawby

The reorganised services have so far worked very well indeed; and we have every reason to expect that they will continue to do so. Our customers, too, seem to be satisfied; for example, one large firm has told us that it intends to send considerable numbers of parcels by post which until now it has sent by other means.

Mr. Bullard

I am very glad to hear that this experiment is working well. Will my hon. Friend see to it that as much of this traffic as possible continues to go on the railways, provided that the railways can make suitable adjustments to meet Post Office needs? Alternatively, if a great deal of this traffic has to be carried on the roads of East Anglia, will my hon. Friend weigh in with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport to see that our East Anglian roads are improved a little so as to be able to carry it?

Mr. Mawby

The whole point of the experiment is to try to make certain that we can use the railways to the best advantage, but also to make certain that customers sending parcels have them delivered in the fastest possible time. With this co-ordination of rail and road we can learn by this experiment and put it into operation over a wider area at some future time.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Will my hon. Friend appreciate that there is some suspicion that the result of the Beeching Plan combined with this scheme by the Post Office is designed to enable the Post Office to hog the lot of the parcel traffic, which formerly went by rail or other public transport? Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that he will see that where branch lines are closed down there is a proper co-ordination between the Post Office and the Ministry of Transport to ensure proper vehicles to carry parcels by road?

Mr. Mawby

Yes, We have no intention of taking traffic away from anyone else. We are interested in giving as good a service in the transport of parcels and other mail as we can. We will naturally leave it to the customer to decide which service he prefers. We have no intention of running anybody else off the road.

Sir J. Maitland

How will the services be affected in East Lincolnshire when there are not any railways at all?

Mr. Mawby

We should have to adapt ourselves to those conditions.

Mr. Mapp

Apart from the service aspect of this matter, is the hon. Gentleman able to tell the House the costings of the road service per package or parcel as against the costings for the railway service? Will not this be a vital factor in his ultimate consideration?

Mr. Mawby

I could not tell the hon. Member off the cuff what the differences are, but this will obviously always be a vital factor to the person posting the parcel.

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