18. Mr. Gresham Cooke
asked the Postmaster-General what is the policy of the Government with regard to Recommendation 379 on Postage Rates in Member Countries of the Council of Europe, which was adopted by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe on 13th January, 1964; and what action Her Majesty's Government have taken or contemplate taking on it.
§ Mr. Mawby
As I indicated in my reply to the Question put down by the hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. C. Johnson) on 12th February, we can see no prospect at present of our postal finances being able to stand the very high cost of the reduced rates referred to in the Council of Europe's recommendation.
Mr. Gresham Cooke
Would my hon. Friend consider whether it would be a good thing to make a gesture to our friends in Europe by carrying letters a certain distance into Europe at internal rates, particularly since cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels are nearer London than is Darlington?
§ Mr. Mawby
This is a matter which we obviously keep under review. It is important to realise that our inland letter rate is extremely low compared with that of other European countries. In fact it is the lowest, except for Cyprus and the Netherlands. I think we have to bear that consideration in mind.