HC Deb 21 November 1968 vol 773 cc1504-5
2. Mr. William Price

asked the Postmaster-General what action he is taking against firms who frank their own letters but who do not deliver them to the Post Office until several days later.

24. Mr. Eadie

asked the Postmaster-General what representations he has received from the Post Office trade unions about firms using postal franking machines in a manner which disrupts the two-tier post; and if he will make a statement.

37. Mr. Milne

asked the Postmaster-General what further investigations he has made into delays in postal deliveries; how many firms known as meter posters were involved in delays; and what was the nature of the complaints.

Mr. Stonehouse

My local managers are responsible for seeing that the rules for posting franked mail are correctly carried out. We get excellent co-operation from the majority of customers, but there have been bad failures in some cases. The effects of this can be serious, particularly when first class mail is posted in second class bundles or where mail is stamped with the wrong date; and the firms concerned are being told how to deal with their mail correctly.

Mr. Price

Would the Postmaster-General agree that his Department has enough problems without accepting the blame for other people's mistakes, whether genuine or malicious? Will he tell those in the second category that if they continue to do this they will have their franking machines taken away?

Mr. Stonehouse

I am considering what should be done about continuous flagrant abuse of the way these meters should be used. I am, however, hopeful that, through the very friendly co-operation that we get from the majority of our customers, any such extreme step will not be required.

Mr. Eadie

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there was a long detailed article on this subject in the Sunday Times? Is he further aware that the trade union had to draw the attention of its members and the general public to this matter? Does my right hon. Friend consider, because the case is proved, that he is responsible for taking action arising from this matter?

Mr. Stonehouse

Yes. The House will remember that I dealt with this matter at some length during the debate on the two-tier system. I am well aware that this can be extremely serious. If we fail to get full co-operation from the firms concerned we will obviously have to do something about it.

Mr. Milne

Will my right hon. Friend keep a close and continuing watch on the situation? We are grateful to him for the action that he has taken, because the ill-advised activities of one or two firms are jeopardising other firms which are receiving tremendous benefits from the postal service.

Mr. Stonehouse

Yes. I take note of the point that has been raised.