HC Deb 26 February 1964 vol 690 cc409-11
5. Miss Quennell

asked the Postmaster-General if he will consider the provision of mobile post offices to serve rural hamlets.

Mr. Mawby

We have considered this suggestion, but I am sorry that mobile post offices would be too costly a way of giving counter services in rural hamlets. Where we cannot justify a post office, there is the rural postman who sells postage and savings stamps and postal orders; and accepts for dispatch telegrams and unregistered and registered letters and parcels. I think this provides a reasonable alternative.

Miss Quennell

Would my hon. Friend indicate how it is that the service would be very expensive when ice cream vendors, fish and chip fryers and the suppliers of other goods apparently find it a worth-while undertaking?

Mr. Mawby

That may be so, but mobile post offices are extremely expensive. Many of the services which the rural post office supplies are agency services on behalf of other Departments, and the Departments concerned would have to make a fuller payment to us for the agency services which we provide.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Will my hon. Friend continue to resist the uneconomic services suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell) and continue to ensure that the local postman does his best to provide the services which he now provides and perhaps even to extend them so that the public may enjoy the facilities now being requested?

Mr. Mawby

This is a matter in which we have a great deal of sympathy with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Lipton

Which one?

Mr. Mawby

My hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell). This is a service which people expect from the Pest Office. They expect that they will get as good a service as possible, but obviously we must take into account the amount of money which it costs us to operate it.

Mr. Randall

Once again the hon. Member has informed the House that it is the postman—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ask a question."] Is the hon. Member aware that once again he has informed the House that it is the postman who bears the increased burden of the Greater London deliveries in the morning and of handling business in the rural areas? Why does he not inform his right hon. Friend that he ought to do more for the postmen in wages?

Mr. Mawby

The hon. Member is trailing his coat. We and the general public have a great deal of respect for our employees, particularly the friendly postman. I should prefer to leave the other question to the proper channels.

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