§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Post Office, from the Federation of Sub-postmasters or from relevant trade unions concerning the possible widespread closure of rural sub-post offices which could arise from changes in methods of payment of pensions and benefit' s.
Net expenditure Cash increase Pay/Prices Real change Pay costs Non-pay costs Total over year increase £m £m £m per cent. per cent. per cent. 1978–79 766 296 1,062 — — — 1979–80 960 345 1,305 22–9 17–5 +4–6 1980–81 1,207 409 1,616 23–8 20–5 +2–7 *1981–82 1,348 444 1,792 10–9 12–4 -1–3 †1982–83 1,486 509 1,995 11–3 7–8 +3–2 * Provisional. † Budgets.
The 1982–83 figures are estimated on the basis of the provision within local authorities budgets for that year.12W
§ Mr. Rossi
I have traced about 40 representations from the National Federation of Sub Postmasters, individual members of the federation, Post Office advisory committees and trades unions concerning the possible effect on sub-post offices of changes in DHSS payments methods. Nearly half of these were received shortly after the issue, in December 1980, of a consultative document, Cmnd 8106, which set out the Government's original proposals for improving the arrangements for paying social security benefits.
The Department and the Post Office consult frequently on all aspects of DHSS business handled by post offices, including the effect of changes in DHSS procedures.