HL Deb 04 August 1966 vol 276 cc1453-4

3.6 p.m.


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 what steps they are taking to extend the installation in post offices of locked letter-boxes for the collection of mail.]


My Lords, locked boxes are installed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, London Western District Office, and Warrington, and experiments will start at three other offices later this year. If the new service is a success, it will be extended to other post offices in all parts of the country.


My Lords, I should like to thank my noble friend for that reply. May I ask him whether he is aware that the private collection of mail by business firms and individuals is widely practised in many countries, and whether he would not agree that a substantial saving in time, cost and manpower could be effected if it were more widely adopted in this country?


My Lords, yes, I am quite aware of that, because the noble Lord told me about it a few minutes ago. I fully appreciate that this will provide not only a facility, but a considerable saving. For the benefit of noble Lords, may I explain that what is proposed—what indeed is in operation in the three areas I have named, and is in prospect for three others—is the supply of a box, the key to which is given to the renter or hirer, who can therefore open it at any time without the assistance of Post Office staff. This is a highly desirable innovation, and we hope to extend it in due course.


My Lords, as a former Member of Parliament for Warrington, may I ask my noble friend to satisfy my curiosity and tell me why Warrington was chosen?


My Lords, it may be because the noble Lady was once the Member for Parliament for Warrington. I personally see no reason why Warrington should be selected sooner than Leyton, which I know quite well.


In other words, my noble friend does not know.

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