asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that a further worsening of postal services in the Greater and Central London areas is likely; what steps he is taking to prevent this; and if he will make a statement.
As the House knows, in August I decided to take certain measures to improve labour utilisation and maintain advertised standards of service. These included an intensified recruiting campaign for postmen; the employment of women and part-timers to meet problems of under-staffing; an extension of the scheduled finishing time of the first delivery in towns by 15 minutes; consolidation of the number of letter deliveries in London sub-districts to two on Monday to Friday and one on Saturday; and advancement of the times of some collections. In the last four months vacancies for full time postmen in the London Postal Area have been reduced by about 500, in addition we are now employing about 170 full time postwomen and some 290 part-time staff.Nevertheless we are still short of staff in London and regular diversions of work have been arranged to minimise the possibility of delays. The quality of service now being given throughout the country has not deteriorated as compared with that in September of last year. We are continuing our recruitment drive and we shall do everything we can to maintain the advertised services.