HC Deb 23 June 1948 vol 452 cc135-6W
78. Mr. Grimston

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has any statement to make about changes in the overseas postal services, to be made on the entry into force of the Universal Postal Convention of Paris, on 1st July next.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

Details of the changes are given below; but I should like to mention one, which I am sure will be welcomed by the House, namely, that letters, letter packets and postcards for European countries, excluding Germany, Poland and Iceland, will as from 1st July be sent by air at the ordinary international rates of postage, whenever this will result in earlier delivery.

The most important of the changes affecting the public which will come into operation on 1st July, is the resumption of the prewar arrangement whereby first-class mail, i.e., letters, letter packets and postcards, for certain European destinations, prepaid at the ordinary international rate of postage were forwarded by air or surface route, whichever offered the earlier delivery. As from 1st July, this system will again apply to letters, letter packets and postcards for European countries with the exception of Germany, Poland and Iceland; no air mail fee will be payable and no air mail label will be required. Owing to the special nature and bulk of the traffic to Germany and Poland, these countries, together with Iceland, are not for the present included in the scheme, and correspondence for them will continue to be despatched by surface route unless it is prepaid for air transmission, and has an air mail label affixed. For the three countries concerned air postage rates, which are at present 5d. for the first ounce and 3d. for each additional ounce, will be altered to 4½d. and 3½d. respectively, the postcard rate remaining unchanged at ½d.

In order to bring the international postal rates charged in this country into conformity with the provisions of the Postal Union Convention, certain other modifications in rates and conditions will also take effect from 1st July. There will be no change in the foreign letter rate of 3d. for the first ounce, but on letters weighing more than one ounce, the rate for each ounce after the first, at present 1½d., will be increased to 2d., and the minimum charge for commercial papers will be increased from 2½d. to 3d. There will be no change in the postage rate for printed papers, which remains at ½d. for every two ounces; but the maximum weight, at present 5 lb. to Commonwealth and 4 lb. to other overseas destinations, with the proviso that a printed volume for any destination sent singly may weigh up to 6½ lb., will be increased to 6½ lb. for all overseas destinations, the weight for an individual volume sent singly being raised to 11 lb.