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Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 1 June 1949

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asked the Postmaster-General what is the relative manpower now compared to pre-war concerned with deliveries of letters.

I regret that figures relating solely to the delivery of letters are not available, but for postal deliveries, collections and allied operations, the comparable numbers of postmen employed (each part-timer counted as one-half) were: 1st April, 1939, 78,899; 1st April, 1949, 76,176.

Does the hon. Gentleman think that the figures he has just given justify the statement of his right hon. Friend the other day in which he said that the pre-war facilities of early delivery and late collection of letters were not possible because of the manpower shortage? The figures he has given are very nearly comparable.

Yes, Sir. Of course, the position is that there are now practically no split tours of duty for post office workers such as those which operated before the war and, therefore, more manpower is required for the same services.