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Volume 149: debated on Friday 16 December 1921

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the congestion and confusion prevailing and the consequent difficulty in obtaining delivery of parcels from Germany owing to the collection by His Majesty's Customs of the duties under the Safeguarding of Industries Act and the German Reparations Act; that certain parcels which arrived in this country for Christmas trade on the 21st and 24th October, could not be delivered by the Post Office until various forms had been filled up and duties paid; and that, though those formalities were duly completed and a receipt obtained on the 16th November, 1921, a part of the consignment is still undelivered; and whether, in view of the continual complaints made by traders as to the delays, he is prepared to modify the procedure or appoint a larger staff so as to prevent this hindrance to trade?

The centralisation at one depot of the examination of the parcels, the scrutiny of invoices, and the assessment and receipt of levy and duty in respect of all parcels arriving in London from Germany, has now been effected in conjunction with the postal authorities, and if the addressees will carry out the instructions given on the form of advice sent on arrival of the parcels, they should not experience any delay in delivery beyond such as is inevitable in collection of the levy or duty. As regards the third part of the question, if the hon. Member will give me particulars of the case referred to, I will have inquiry made.

Seeing that the complaints are increasing in number every day, would not the hon. Gentleman appoint a small committee of City men to investigate and do something to clear up this tremendous delay?

No, Sir. I think the facts of the case are not as suggested by the hon. Member. The complaints are not increasing, and I very much trust and believe that the measures to which I have referred in the answer will lead to their diminution and disappearance.