HC Deb 02 June 1964 vol 695 cc898-9
15. Mr. Dodds

asked the Postmaster-General when the Shakespeare sets of stamps were sent to Mr. P. N. Bulivant, who, as a stamp dealer, paid£81 in response to his Department's advertisement stating that they would be delivered on 24th April; and why, for over four weeks, inquiries have received the explanation that the stamps would be delivered in a few days without the stamps being sent.

Mr. Mawby

I very much regret that this order was wrongly filed amongst those which had been met or were being met and that Bulivant's inquiries were incorrectly answered on this basis without adequate verification. An apology has been made to him and his stamps were delivered on 28th May.

Mr. Dodds

But is not the whole case one of inefficiency and misrepresentation? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Wait for it and I shall give the details. Will the hon. Gentleman explain how, when it was known that preparations were not made to complete the orders on 24th April, for weeks after stamp dealers were told that they would receive them in two or three days, yet the delay lasted for a month or five weeks? Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this sort of thing has created a good deal of ill-will with the customers, and having got them out, they are sticking to the material of the packs, thus damaging many stamps. This is an example of in-efficiency. Will the hon. Gentleman ensure that if this sort of thing is done again better preparations are made for it?

Mr. Mawby

Certainly mistakes have been made in regard to this issue. The matter to which the hon. Member refers is the issue of a first-day cover which we provided. This is the first time that we have sought to provide a first-day cover. We made a calculation of how many would be required, and we were grossly out. In fact, we calculated that about 20,000 or 30,000 would be required, whereas, at the end of the day, it was nearer 100,000. Mistakes were made in the Department, but we are making certain that they will not occur again. This was a teething problem, in respect of an issue which we had never offered before. I can assure the hon. Member that next time an issue of this kind is made we shall have learnt from the mistakes we made this time.

Mr. David James

Is my hon. Friend aware that this mistake is made by every publisher in the United Kingdom, all the time?

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