HL Deb 09 August 1966 vol 276 cc1678-80

2.38 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Second 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 encourage the installation of letter-boxes near the front gates, rather than in the front doors, of private dwelling-houses.]


My Lords, my right honourable friend the Postmaster General is anxious to develop garden-gate delivery, but so far it has not been favoured by residents, for a variety of reasons. The possibilities are nevertheless being pursued.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his reply, may I ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware that a very substantial saving of time and manpower could be effected by the adoption of this procedure, especially in country districts, and the trouble of emptying a letter-box by the garden gate is no more trouble than taking the dog out for a walk.


My Lords, without any appreciation of the latter remark of the noble Lord, may I say that certainly what he has said has been well borne in mind. There are certain advantages, but equally he will appreciate there are certain disadvantages. These boxes are used frequently in other countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and the United States of America, but many are stolen and that would also be a liability in this country. Moreover, it would be very difficult for elderly and infirm people to go to the garden gate after every postal delivery, apart from those like ourselves who are not so infirm. In addition, some experiment has been made in trying to persuade local authorities controlling blocks of flats to instal boxes at the base of the block, and this matter is being watched and it is being carefully pursued.


My Lords, can the noble Lord say whether the firm of efficiency experts at present looking into the Post Office have recommended that letters should be delivered at gates, and if so, can the noble Lord give the assurance that this particular recommendation will not be complied with?


My Lords, the answer to the noble Earl is in the first place, No, and in the second place, No.


My Lords, would the noble Lord bear in mind, if we do go in for garden gate boxes, that they are a great temptation to the birds in the spring and that therefore they should be in a suitable form to discourage the birds from using them?


My Lords, I can assure the noble Baroness that I will convey that suggestion to the Postmaster General.


My Lords, since the noble Lord, Lord Segal, has sympathetically mentioned dogs, is the Minister aware that dogs greatly like the postman coming the whole way to the house?


My Lords, I understand that that also applies to seagulls.