HC Deb 13 July 1966 vol 731 cc1443-5
9. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Postmaster-General why the postal deliveries service in London has deteriorated.

Mr. Edward Short

There has been no general deterioration recently in the postal delivery services in London. If the right hon. Gentleman will give me details of any particular cases which have come to his notice I will gladly look into them.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware, even after his brief period in the Department, that deliveries in London sometimes take two days in respect of letters emanating within the area, and a great number of letters are delivered at addresses to which they are clearly not addressed? Is he not going to attempt to halt the deterioration which took place under his predecessor?

Mr. Short

I do not accept the last part of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. As he knows, an announcement was made in August of last year that changes were to be made to provide for better labour utilisation. I have looked carefully through the records of the Post Office, and we have had no complaints from the right hon. Gentleman for six months now.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Is the Postmaster-General aware that a parcel posted in London to the House of Commons always takes two days? Is that not quite appall- ing, and will he kindly ask the local postmaster here, who will confirm that fact?

Mr. Short

If the hon. Gentleman will give me specific cases, I will look at them immediately, but I cannot answer a general question of that kind.

26. Mr. John Smith

asked the Postmaster-General how many letters posted in London on Saturday, 9th July, to addresses in London were still undelivered at noon on Monday 11th July.

Mr. Joseph Slater

About 700 at full letter rate. Apart from some incorrectly and badly addressed items these were nearly all due to shortage of delivery staff, particularly at one office, owing to sickness, holidays and vacancies.

Mr. Smith

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the waste and damage to the economy caused by these late deliveries to offices and that this log-jam is mainly caused by the number of letters of complaint about the Post Office which my constituents write to me, my answers to them, my letters to him about it, his answers to me, and my letters sending those to them? All this could be avoided by punctual delivery.

Mr. Slater

I sincerely hope that the replies to his inquiries which the hon. Gentleman has received from me have been satisfactory. Our staffing position is better than it was a year ago, but we are still unable to get the staff we require.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that only recently I sent the Postmaster-General a complaint from a constituent of mine saying that not one but some half dozen letters were delivered six to seven days late to my constituent's premises and that thereby he lost a number of valuable orders? As this is only one of numerous complaints which I have received in the last year, confirming what the hon. Member for the Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. John Smith) has said, will not the hon. Gentleman undertake an investigation into the whole of the postal delivery service within the Greater London area?

Mr. Slater

This is something which we are constantly doing with the postal services. We have endeavoured to assist, but we have been faced with staff difficulties, particularly in London. We are doing everything we possibly can to bring more people into the service so as to provide the deliveries which hon. Members want.