asked the Assistant Postmaster-General to what extent Post Office scales are examined by weights and measures inspectors.
As Crown property, Post Office weights and scales are exempt by statute from examination. The Post Office has, as a normal procedure, arrangements for the testing of its weights and scales by its own staff. Agreement has however been reached with the Board of Trade under which this regular inspection will in due course be supplemented by periodical visits by Inspectors of Weights and Measures. As an initial step all new weighing equipment is already subject to verification by the inspectors.
While I appreciate that small improvement, can my hon. Friend say why it is that these scales are not subject to exactly the same procedure as the scales of ordinary traders? Does he realise what inaccuracy there is in Post Office scales, and does he know that many people who have parcels for troops in the Far-East visit three or four post offices and leave the parcels at the one where the scales show the lowest charge?
We have no verification whatever of the last statement made by my hon. Friend. If he will let me have details I shall be only too glad to examine them. If anything, the Post Office's scales are inspected more regularly than the scales of most private businesses. I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that, with the additional safeguards I have mentioned, customers will have very little to grumble about.
Would there not be much more of a safeguard if the Post Offices were fined if they have scales out of order, just like the ordinary trader?