HL Deb 23 March 1949 vol 161 cc690-2WA

asked His Majesty's Government what proportion of petrol coupons to the total number issued is lost in transit between the offices of the Ministry of Fuel and Power and applicants to whom they are addressed; what was the aggregate of these losses in 1948; whether such losses have increased in recent months; and whether the Minister is taking steps to minimise transit leakages by various causes and particularly by theft, which must be aggravated by the fact that coupons and registration books are sent through the unregistered post enclosed in envelopes on which the name of the Ministry is printed.


The proportion of coupon losses in transit between regional petroleum offices and applicants was approximately one in 3,500 during 1948. This represents an aggregate loss of 1,765 postal packets containing coupons out of more than 4,000,000 packets dispatched. The figures cover losses of coupons for commercial petrol issued by the regional petroleum offices as well as for private petrol. Losses tended to increase during the latter half of 1948, but this tendency has now been arrested and reversed. My right honourable friend the Minister of Fuel and Power is acting in concert with the Postmaster-General to reduce still further losses by theft and other causes, and successful prosecutions have already been taken against thieves. It is reasonable to assume that some of the losses are due to normal misadventure which must occur, even in the most efficient postal system, when millions of packets are handled. In certain areas coupons have been sent through the registered post, but my Lords it will be appreciated that it would not be practicable to deal with the whole of this vast correspondence in this way. It is at present under consideration whether the name of the Ministry should continue to be printed on the envelope.

House adjourned at seventeen minutes before eight o'clock.