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Post Office

Volume 977: debated on Monday 28 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has yet completed his review of the Post Office monopoly.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. The negotiations and discussions on telecommunications seem to have been taking a considerable time, and it is hoped that his Department has not overlooked the future of the Post Office mail monopoly, since the service continues to decline and the price continues to increase.

Has the right hon. Gentleman also not overlooked the fact that the Post Office undertakes deliveries to places which are not economic, most of them in rural areas represented by Tory Members? Is it his intention to cut these services.

The answer to the first part of the hon. Lady's question is "Yes, I am aware of it". All factors are being considered by me.

Will my right hon. Friend, as one aspect of his review of this monopoly, instruct the Post Office to stop pursuing threats of prosecution and other legal action against well-intentioned volunteers who, at Christmas time, seek to organise some form of well-meaning local free delivery service of cards and parcels to old-age pensioners?

I am sure that the chairman of the Post Office will read what my hon. Friend has said, but I certainly do not intend to instruct him.

Will the Secretary of State assure us that before he makes any final decision about the postal monopoly he will consider the views of the Post Officer Users National Council, which includes many major private sector industrial organisations which are totally opposed to the views espoused by his hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne)?