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Stamp Office, Portsmouth

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

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asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if it has been decided in the interest of economy to close the stamp office at Portsmouth in July next; if so, will he state in what way economy will be effected and the amount of it, and what individual services will be dispensed with at Portsmouth; whether increased duties or services will be occasioned at the central office in London; whether further work and expense incurred will be thrown upon the Post Office in the transmission of documents and expenses of stationery; whether he has had pointed out to him by the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce and others the great inconvenience and delay to business men in Portsmouth if the present method is abolished; and whether he will state when an opportunity of raising this point in Debate will occur?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The estimated saving is about £600 per annum in salaries, rent, etc., from which sum small deductions will fall to be made on account of the services of the Post Office. The services of two officers will be dispensed with at Portsmouth without consequent addition to staff in London. As regards the representations made to me, steps have been taken to minimise any inconvenience which might otherwise result from the closing of the office.

I imagine it can be best raised upon the Public Works and Buildings Vote. If not there, I do not know where it could be raised; possibly upon the Treasury Vote, Ministers' Salaries.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are a good many other places where objection is taken, besides Portsmouth?

Yes. I should like to emphasise the fact that this is not a case of any single city suffering whatever inconvenience is suffered in this economy. It is an economy which has had to be made over a large number of places.