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Post Office

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1947

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Imperial Cable Service


asked the Postmaster-General for how long his Department undertook the Imperial Cable Service, and on what date it was handed over to the Cable and Wireless Company; and for what reasons.

The Post Office operated a transatlantic cable service from 1917 until 1928, and wireless services to various Empire countries from 1926 until 1928. In 1928 these cable and wireless services were transferred to Imperial and International Communications, Ltd., subsequently known as Cable and Wireless, Ltd., on the recommendations of the Imperial Wireless and Cable Conference of that year. The considerations which led to these recommendations are set out in the Report of the Conference, which was published as a White Paper (Cmd. 3163).

Is it not a fact that the Post Office tried to run this Imperial service for a long time and it was a failure and directly it went over to Cable and Wireless it became a roaring success?

Crown Post Offices


asked the Postmaster-General the number of Crown post offices in each of the 12 largest cities or towns in the United Kingdom, giving the populations in each case.

As the answer is rather long, I shall, with the hon. and gallant Member's permission, arrange for it to be published in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

While I accept the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman, could he give me now the comparative figures referring to Belfast and the city of Edinburgh?

The Edinburgh figures are 18 Crown post offices and 471,000 population—I have given the approximate population—Belfast, five Crown post offices and 447,000 population.

Will the Minister take into consideration the fact that Belfast is a hive of industry, with a large population, and has only five Crown post offices, compared with the beautiful city of Edinburgh, which is largely residential, and has 18 Crown post offices? Will he look into the matter, and see whether he cannot give us more Crown post offices?

Following is the answer:

In the London postal area, the population of which approaches 4,500,000, there are 204 Crown post offices. The figures for the 12 largest cities outside London are:

County Borough of.Number of Crown Post Offices.Estimated population at 31st December, 1946.
Glasgow (Royal Burgh)321,075,744
Edinburgh (Royal Burgh.)18471,192

Parcel Post, South Wales


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the many complaints being made concerning the delay in parcel post delivery to South Wales; and what steps he is taking to remedy this matter.

Very few complaints concerning delay to parcels for addressees in South Wales have been received. If the hon. Member has any particular district or address in mind and will let me have full particulars, I will be happy to have inquiry made.

Northville, Filton


asked the Postmaster-General if, in view of the needs of the inhabitants of the locality, he will favourably consider the establishment of a Crown post office at Northville, Filton.

I regret that the establishment of a Crown post office at Northville, Filton, could not be justified, but I hope that it will be possible shortly to reopen the Northville sub-post office which unfortunately had to be closed recently owing to the resignation of the sub-postmaster.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there have been very large developments at Northville in recent years, that the population has increased from 3,000-odd in 1931, to more than 11,000 in 1946, that there are large numbers of contractors and sub-contractors engaged on the important Brabazon project, and that the establishment of a Crown post office would be a very great convenience? Will he look into this matter again, with the object of providing that convenience for this large number of people?

I will look into it, but the main trouble was that the sub-post office had to be closed. It is to be opened in the very near future.

Telephones (Cheap Call Period)


asked the Postmaster-General if he will consider the extension of the period of cheap telephone calls from 9.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.

In view of the national manpower situation, I regret that there is no early Prospect of an extension of the cheap call period.

Will my right hon. Friend consider extending it to 10 o'clock, which would be greatly appreciated?

The decision to make it 9.30 p.m. was taken after a lot of consideration, and to extend it to 10 o'clock would mean a lot of extra manpower.



asked the Postmaster-General the numbers of postmen, both permanent and temporary, employed by his Department on 20th October, 1946, 10th January, 1947, and 20th April, 1947, respectively.

The nearest dates for which the information desired by the hon. and gallant Member is available are 1st October, 1946, 1st January, 1947, and 1st April, 1947. The numbers are as follow. Part-time officers have been counted as a half each, and post-women have been included.

1st October, 194682,150
1st January, 194785,178
1st April, 194785,868

Can the Postmaster-General explain why, when there was an increase from October to January, and no decrease from January to April, it has been necessary to make such drastic cuts in the postal collections and deliveries?

I understand that some of these figures are due to certain reorganisation work, in the main.

In view of the fact that these late collection and delivery facilities were reinstituted on 7th January, and there has been a slight increase in the general staff of postmen since then, why did the right hon. Gentleman tell the House last week that the number was reduced because of shortage of staff?

Because we have to make our general contribution on the manpower problem, and we have been asked to do so.

Can my right hon. Friend give a specific assurance that none of the additions to the Post Office staff is to deal with football pool traffic, and a further assurance—

In view of the nature of the reply I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter again.