Remittances Abroad (Information)
asked the Postmaster-General in how many cases during the most recent statistical periods have post offices given incorrect information about sending money abroad which has led to its confiscation in whole or in part by the Exchange control authorities.
Since the 1st of October, 1947, when the Exchange Control Act came into force, six cases have been brought to my notice in which the poster alleged that incorrect information was given at a post office. In each of these cases the money was refunded by the Customs authorities, who have, I understand, dealt similarly with a number of applications made directly to them. The regulations in this matter are being specially brought to the notice of counter officers at all post offices.
Sub-Postmasters (Ta Training)
asked the Postmaster-General what arrangements are being made to provide substitutes for sub- postmasters, who volunteer for the Territorial Army, during the period they are in camp.
Sub-postmasters are not required to give personal service, but are required to provide satisfactory staffing for their offices at all times, whether they are present or absent. The provision of substitutes during any period of absence is accordingly the responsibility of the individual sub-postmaster, but I am considering the possibility of contributing towards the cost of substitution incurred by sub-postmasters who attend Territorial Army camps.
Postal District, Enfield
asked the Postmaster-General whether he will extend the London postal district area to include the Urban District of Enfield.
No, Sir, and I regret that under existing manpower conditions it is not practicable to provide additional postal facilities for the area named.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that Enfield is within 12 miles of Charing Cross and that it would be very reasonable to bring it into the London postal district and thus improve the facilities there, in view of the fact that the urban area extends from London beyond Enfield and that the manufacturers in the district are severely handicapped at the present time?
We had those facts in mind, of course, when we came to the present conclusion.
Public Relations Officer
asked the Postmaster-General whether the public relations officer to his Department is an established civil servant; and what age-limit attaches to the appointment.
The present public relations officer to the Post Office is not an established civil servant. In accordance with the general practice in the Civil Service about unestablished officers, no age limit attaches to the appointment.
But as an established civil servant, aged 62, was removed to make room for this Socialist ex-Minister, who is now nearly 68, and who has had his salary increased from £1,350 to £1,700, can the Minister say how much longer this particular example of patronage is going to continue?
I do not think there is any question of patronage whatever This man was put in because he was able to do the job, and he is still doing the job very well indeed.
Has not the Post Office enough publicity about its poor services all over the country without having a public relations officer?
We get a lot of publicity about the good services of the Post Office.
In order that the House and the country may be better informed of the particulars of this appointment, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.
New Building, Newport
asked the Postmaster-General whether the plans for a new post office in Newport have now been approved; when building operations will commence; how long it is expected to take to complete the post office; and whether the new automatic exchange will be housed in the new building.
The local authority have approved in principle the plans for the extension of the Post Office at Newport (Mon), but final plans have not yet been approved. It is now hoped that building operations will start early in 1950 and will be completed two and a half years later. New automatic telephone equipment will be installed in a portion of the new wing.
In view of the fact that the new post office will be on the site of the old one, is it intended to maintain the postal services in that building during building operations or will other arrangements be made?
I should like notice of that question.
asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that television manufacturers in this country have sold altogether 135,000 sets, and since June, 1946, when the television service was restarted, 122,316 sets, and in view of the fact that the television licences issued by the Post Office up to the end of February, 1949, were only 111,850, if he will investigate this discrepancy, with a view to taking proceedings against persons owning television receivers who are operating without a licence.
The number of television licences current at the end of February, 1949, was 120,100. When account is taken of the number of sets in transit and in shops, I do not think that the number of unlicensed viewers is large. A reasonable time is allowed for the purchaser of a set to take out a licence, but the movement of the respective figures is carefully examined, and recently some prosecutions have taken place.
Is the Minister aware that the quality of television reception is not often affected by aerials being erected in the roofs or attics of houses, and, in those circumstances, can he say if it is possible for the Post Office to detect whether a television receiver exists in those cases where the aerials are in the attic or roof?
We have ways and means of detecting this business.