§ Mr. Hunt
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is advertising on a very lavish and extravagant scale? Is he aware that I have here an advertisement which gives such fascinating but totally irrelevant information as the hip, waist and bust measurements of potential post office counter clerks? Is not all this a gross waste of public money?
§ Mr. Benn
It is an extremely expensive campaign, but it is absolutely essential to maintain the services in London. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the complaints that are made about the postal services arise almost invariably because of shortage of staff. This last year we have reduced the vacancies amongst postmen from over 1,600 to 893. We have held our own with telephonists, many of whom leave us, but we are very short of counter clerks.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
In view of this successful response, will the Postmaster-General consider why the Post Office is not advertising in the Sunday Citizen? Is my right hon. Friend aware that many hon. Members on this side of the House are surprised that the Government, while advertising in a London newspaper, are not prepared to advertise in a Labour paper which has a national coverage?
§ Sir W. Bromley-Davenport
How can the right hon. Gentleman's Department 405 expect to get the recruits which it requires when its excellent and loyal post office workers are overworked and underpaid?
§ Mr. Benn
I am sure that the hon. and gallant Gentlemen's supplementary question will appear in the appropriate staff magazines, but it is a fact that, given the present shortage of staff, we have no alternative but to advertise. We had a campaign on television last July which was successful but more expensive per recruit than a Press campaign.