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Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that many post office canteens are below the accepted standard, and that post office men are required themselves to pay for improvements; and, in view of the big Post Office surplus, what steps he will take to improve the position.

All Post Office can teens receive financial assistance in the way of free accommodation and other facilities, which vary according to local conditions. The space provided is in some cases below standard but, unfortunately, major improvement is at present held up by the restriction on capital expenditure. I am considering the question of giving additional assistance in certain cases.

Surely the right hon. Gentleman cannot say that he is serious about getting staff in difficult areas like the Midlands when these canteens are miserably below the standard set in a decent private firm? Why should postmen, whose earnings are not very high, be called upon to pay a penny a week towards improving their canteen? I think it is disgraceful.

There are three types of canteens. Those which are now run as clubs naturally bear some responsibility for their club activities but, in general, I am trying to take a generous view of the assistance we should give in these cases.