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Parcel Post

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 20 June 1922

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64 and 65.

asked the Postmaster-General (1) if he will state, approximately, what volume of the parcel post is now carried by the railways and also what proportion of the postage is paid to the railway companies for their services; whether, in view of the urgency of a cheaper parcel post service, any revision of the charges paid to the railway companies is possible; if so, does he propose to obtain such revision at an early date;

(2) whether any of the motor-van services, which the Post Office established before the War, between London and adjacent towns of 50 to 100 miles distance have been re-established or if it is the intention to do so; whether these motor-van services helped considerably in providing a cheaper parcel post service before the War; and will he consider this or any other means of giving a cheaper parcel post service at the present time?

Rather more than 90 per cent. of the parcel post is carried over the whole or part of its journey by rail. As the result of negotiations, which have recently been concluded with the railway companies, the companies have agreed to accept 40 per cent. of the postage on railway-borne parcels, as compared with 55 per cent. which was payable to them under the Parcel Post Act of 1882, and a Bill to confirm this agreement will. shortly be introduced. In consideration of this reduction in the proportion of the postage payable to the companies, the Post Office agrees not to re-establish the parcel coaches or otherwise to transfer parcel mails to road transport.

The parcel post is at present carried on on an unremunerative basis, and I regret that it is not. possible to offer any reduction in the postage rates.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what percentage of the loss on the parcel post was incurred in connection with the motor service?

I shall be glad to get my hon. Friend that information, but I am afraid I cannot give it at the moment.