HL Deb 01 July 1965 vol 267 cc1012-3

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is the case that all post offices are to be supplied with new counter weighing machines for the parcel post; and, if so, what the cost is estimated to be.]


My Lords, some post office parcel weighing machines have been, or are being, replaced or modified to bring them into line with Board of Trade standards. The cost, most of which has already been incurred, is estimated at about £140,000.


My Lords, in thanking the noble Lord for that Answer, may I ask whether he can tell me if an estimate for the various capital expenditures was made before the revised postal charges were made, and if this included the figure which he has given me now, as well as the figure of £109,500 in respect of advertising, and the estimate for the proposal to change 28,000 stamp-selling machines which at present do not sell 4d. stamps? I presume that it is taken that people do not want to go to the trouble of getting a threepenny and a penny stamp.


My Lords, there are three questions there. With respect, I do not think the last one arises, but I shall be only too happy to answer it. In regard to the question of capital expenditure, this has been going on for a period of eleven years. This is part of a programme of renewing the scales and bringing them into line with Board of Trade standards. This operation first started in 1954, and the job will be completed in 1969. At the present moment it is the turn of Scotland.


My Lords, could the noble Lord say whether these changes have been approved by the firm of American consultants recently appointed by the Postmaster-General?


My Lords, it has nothing to do with them. The noble Lord really ought to know this, because it went on when he was at the Board of Trade in 1961.