HC Deb 29 November 1972 vol 847 cc403-4
8. Mr. William Price

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications what percentage of first class post is now being delivered the following day.

Sir J. Eden

The latest Post Office figures show that about 92 per cent. of first class letters are delivered on the next working day after posting.

Mr. Price

In view of all the problems facing the Post Office, particularly the continued closure of railway lines, is not that a remarkable figure, and does it not provide the answer to some of the neurotics on the benches opposite, who never have a good word to say about the Post Office? Will the Minister answer one question for the benefit of his hon. Friends? Does he know of any postal system in the world which is cheaper or more effective than the British system?

Sir J. Eden

I do not think that any of us on this side of the House feels particularly neurotic. However, no one in the Post Office is complacent even about the figure that I have given.

Mr. Waddington

Can my right hon. Friend say why such a large proportion of the remaining 8 per cent. arrive at my home or other premises in North-East Lancashire?

Sir J. Eden

It may have something to do with the time at which the letters were posted.

Mr. Loughlin

I do not wish to criticise the Post Office, but will the Minister bear in mind that a problem is arising particularly in rural areas where there has been a reorganisation of the local post offices? May I quote the Forest of Dean as an example? Local letters are sent to Gloucester before they are sent back to the Forest of Dean. Consequently, a high percentage of first class mail is not being delivered the day after it is posted.

Sir J. Eden

In May 1972 the Chairman of the Post Office announced a special action programme to make improvements in the reliability of all letter mail delivery. It included a special analysis of problem areas and reported difficulties. I am sure that the chairman will note what the hon. Gentleman has said.