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Post Office

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 12 May 1943

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Letter Delivery, Glasgow

37.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that busi- ness firms in Glasgow are concerned at the proposal to abolish the mid-day delivery of letters bringing the bulk of the mail from the South which, if not delivered until the afternoon, cannot be dealt with the same day; and whether he will reconsider his decision and do away with the morning delivery and retain that at midday?

Yes, Sir. My right hon. and gallant Friend proposes to arrange for the second delivery in Glasgow to commence before noon. This arrangement is understood to be acceptable locally. The second part of the Question does not therefore arise.

Northern District Office, Islington (Working Conditions)

38.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is satisfied that the conditions of service at the Northern District Office, Islington, are such as to take fully into account the lower physique and higher age of those engaged there; and whether he will look into these conditions, as women sorters perform more work than pre-war male sorters and non-able-bodied men carry out duties beyond reasonable limits?

I am satisfied that the staffing arrangements generally at the Northern District Office have been framed with due regard to the age and physique of the present-day staff and that the duties of the women sorters and non-able-bodied men should be well within their capacity. The working arrangements are under constant review, and they are adjusted as necessary in consultation with the accredited representatives of the staff. My right hon. and gallant Friend is looking further into the specific points to which my hon. Friend has drawn his attention by letter and will write to him when his inquiries are completed.

War Damaged Houses (Repair Expenditure)

39.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works why local authorities are permitted an expenditure of up to £250 per house in the case of war damage whereas private owners are only to be permitted to expend £200 per house, while the need is the same in both cases?

Under the special scheme for the repair by local authorities of some 40,000 war damaged houses in England and Wales, the authorised average expenditure per house has been fixed at £200. Licences under Defence Regulation 56A are not required in these cases, but private owners wishing to do their own repairs must obtain a licence where the total amount spent on the property in any period of 12 months exceeds £100. The grant of a licence is dependent upon the facts of each case and is not determined by an arbitrary money limit such as that mentioned in the Question. For houses comparable with those being repaired under the special scheme, a broadly equivalent standard is now being applied provided labour and materials are available in the district.

Salvage Notices (Fixtures)

41.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he is aware that in numerous cases salvage committees have not filled up on the D.D. & R. 47 requisition notices the fixtures to be taken, making it impossible for occupier or owner to object or claim compensation; and whether he will make these notices valid only for the fixtures enumerated on the forms themselves as directed on the D.D. & R. 47 notice itself?

The form D.D. & R. 47 is not a requisition notice and is not intended, nor is it in fact used, to notify details of the fixtures to be taken. It warns the recipient that the schedule prepared and held by the local authority affects the property. Claims for compensation, if made, can be supported by the detailed receipt given when the fixtures are removed.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when officials send out the forms they are directed to fill in the fixtures they are going to take, and they do not do that; and that it is a great hardship on the owner in not knowing if they can go inside the house or anywhere outside without notifying any details on the back of the form, which they should have filled up?

The purpose of the notice is to avoid criticism about entering property without informing the occupier, and if the occupier wishes to object to the removal of fixtures, he should object to the local authority.

But notice is not given. Then these forms are of no use at all if they do not contain any fixtures on the back which are not there.

House Of Commons Chamber (Loud-Speaking Apparatus)

42.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he is prepared to instal additional loud-speaking apparatus in the Visitors' Gallery of this Chamber?

Yes, Sir. I am quite prepared if hon. Members so desire to consider the installation of additional loud-speaking apparatus in the Visitors' Gallery of this Chamber.

43.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he has carried out any experiments with additional loud-speaking apparatus in this Chamber to improve its acoustic properties so that the Chamber can be fitted with glass windows and ventilated with fresh air?

No, Sir. The existing microphones have been so placed and adjusted as to pick up speech from any part of the Chamber and relay it satisfactorily to the Gallery. I am advised that if loud speakers were installed on the Floor of the Chamber, the microphones would pick up the sound, and there would be an uncontrollable volume of noise.