HC Deb 08 December 1971 vol 827 c1270
2. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications whether he will initiate legislation to provide for a network of local post offices operating as private companies.

Mr. Chataway

No, Sir, but there are nearly 23,000 sub-postmasters engaged in private enterprise.

Mr. Hamilton

But not in relation to postal services. Does not the right hon. Gentleman recall that he expressed a distaste for monopoly conditions in radio and broadcasting generally? Does he not apply the same criteria to postal services, or does he think that monopoly services are desirable and efficient?

Mr. Chataway

I have never disguised my view that for postal services, in this country as in all others, a monopoly is desirable. One continually has to look at the scope of such monopolies. But when it comes to broadcasting, I am glad to say that there is no such necessity for a monopoly.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

Will not my right hon. Friend welcome the belated conversion to the theories of private enterprise shown by the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton)?

Mr. Chataway

It is most encouraging.