asked the Assistant Postmaster General whether the arrangement, announced early in the war, is still operative, whereby letters posted by midday to any address in the country, will be delivered by the first post the following morning, or whether an improved arrangement is now in existence.
:Since 1st October, the posting time on week-days in London for delivery by first post throughout England and Wales on the following week-day has been 3. p.m. in Head District Areas (3.30 p.m. at Head District Offices), and 1.45–2.15 p.m. in Sub-District Areas—two hours later than formerly. The corresponding posting time on Sundays, at a restricted number of posting boxes, is now 2 p.m. in Head District Areas, and 1 p.m. in sub District Areas—one hour later than formerly.
:Is the hon. Gentleman aware that those times are very far from being adhered to, and that the postal delivery service at present is very bad indeed in many parts of the country?
:These times represent an improvement and, as my Noble Friend has stated in another place, he hopes to make a further announcement at an early date when staffing difficulties can be overcome.
Do I understand from the hon. Gentleman's reply that these hours are applicable in the provinces? Is he aware that a letter takes 48 hours to travel 14 miles?
Will the hon. Gentleman look into the other end of the case and see that some improvement is made in the delivery of the letters?
:This Question, of course, refers to deliveries from London to the country, but we are looking into the whole of this matter. The main difficulty has been shortage of staff. As soon as staffing can be improved, we shall improve the services, but it should be borne in mind that these services can only run parallel with improvements in transport.