§ 34 and 38. Mr. Gorst
asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (1) what advice he has received from the Post Office Users' National Council with regard to the charging by the Post Office of telephone rentals in arrears; and what action he proposes to take to give effect to the advice he has received;
(2) whether he will revise the financial targets of the Post Office to enable it to refund or waive the telephone rental charges in arrears that it imposed earlier in this year.
§ Mr. Chataway
The Council has made its views public and I am placing a copy of them in the Library. Implementation of tariff proposals must be a matter for the Post Office and I have no intention of intervening.
§ Mr. Gorst
Will the Minister say whether the views expressed by the Post Office Users' National Council represent a majority view of the members of the Council? Secondly, is he aware that about 11,000 subscribers have protested about the retrospective charges, and does he feel that retrospective charging by the Post Office is a proper commercial activity?
§ Mr. Chataway
The proceedings inside the Users' Council are, rightly, confidential, and I do not know what voting arrangements have been made. The Users' Council criticised the public relations of the Post Office, because in the normal sense of the word, no retrospection is involved here. Notice was given in June that there would be an increase, and the increase has taken effect for all subscribers from 1st July.