HC Deb 05 May 1965 vol 711 cc1353-4
41. Sir B. Janner

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will investigate the possibility of saving the time of postmen by encouraging the greater use of mail boxes on the road fringe of all houses as is done in the United States of America.

Mr. Benn

We shall of course welcome anything people are prepared to do on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend. Whether we could usefully take more positive steps to get people to use such boxes is a matter which will certainly be looked into as part of the fundamental examination of the postal services which I have set in train.

Sir B. Janner

In view of the fact that this would facilitate delivery of letters and parcels, will my right hon. Friend use some form of publicity to encourage people to use these post boxes at their houses?

Mr. Benn

I have no power to compel people to use these boxes. We cannot estimate the saving involved. It was considered in 1959, but there are all sorts of problems which the Americans, who use the system, have experienced. We think that in any case only very slight savings might be expected.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Is the Postmaster-General aware that there would be wide resentment if there were a further diminution in the quality of service given by the Post Office?

Mr. Benn

The Question put to me was whether I would consider encouraging the greater use of mail boxes.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Is the Minister aware that, following the recent savage increase in postal charges, this proposed further deterioration in the service will be quite unacceptable to the general public?

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider making an experiment in some dormitory area—Hendon would be suitable—as it is desirable that the first post should be delivered before people leave for their jobs, and this is becoming increasingly difficult? May I suggest that an experiment might resolve the difficulty and show whether this could be adapted with benefit for a much wider public?

Mr. Benn

This is one of the things we are looking at, but a change in the pattern of service is a very serious thing to do and I do not think that one could do it on a haphazard basis.