HC Deb 25 April 1968 vol 763 cc458-9
19. Mr. Mawby

asked the Postmaster-General if he will make a statement on the future of the telegram service.

Mr. Mason

The future of the inland telegram service is still under review.

Mr. Mawby

Will the right hon. Gentleman take notice of the grave problem of the telegram service continually losing money? While a service is continuing to lose money, it is obviously constituting a drain on other profitable services which in the end will suffer.

Mr. Mason

That is one of our problems. We are losing between £2 million and £3 million a year on the inland service at the moment.

Mr. Dobson

Will my right hon. Friend note that one of the problems is not the loss of telegraph traffic as such, but the uncertainty for the staff employed in the many telegraph offices throughout the country? I hope that he will make a speedy decision about the Government's policy as it affects the telegraph service.

Mr. Mason

I am aware of that, and we are treating it as a matter of urgency.

Mr. Bryan

In this review of the telegram service, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there are 1,300,000 people over 65 who live alone, out of whom only 18 per cent. have telephones, and that a telegram service means a lot to them?

Mr. Mason

This is the problem of the emergency service, and we shall keep that in mind, too.