THE EARL OF MAYO
My Lords, I have been requested by a noble Lord who cannot put the Question to ask His Majesty's Government how many male clerks are at present employed in the Postal Service in London between the ages of 18 and 40; how many are (a) married, (b) single; how many could be spared by the Post Office Department for work outside their ordinary duties; and whether it is possible to replace any of them, and if so, how many, by female clerks, pensioners, or boys under the age of 18.
§ VISCOUNT ALLENDALE
My Lords, from the way in which the Question is worded it is not clear whether the noble Earl refers to clerks in the narrow sense of the word or whether he includes telegraphists, sorters, and counter clerks. The figures furnished to me by the Department have been given on the assumption that the former is intended. The number of clerks employed by the Post Office in London is, roughly speaking, about 4,000. As to what proportion of these are (a) of military age, and (b) married, I am afraid such information could not be obtained without a large amount of detailed labour, which there certainly has not been time to devote since the Question appeared on the Paper. The exact figures are not available as to the number of London Post Office clerks on military service, but it is believed they number about 1,000. The work of the clerical staff is already carried on under some difficulty, and no considerable body of men can be spared for work outside their ordinary duties. A large staff of female clerks has been engaged; pensioners have been recalled where they can be usefully employed; and boy clerks have been used so far as the Civil Service Commission is able to supply them. Permission to enlist has not been withheld except in cases where the men possessed special telegraphic qualifications, or where there was a special reason why they could not be released.