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Postage Stamps And Charities

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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2.42 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will request the Post Office to consider a further issue of postage stamps to aid charities, and whether these could be made in a form more attractive than the previous issue.

My Lords, that is a reply of which we are all aware, and some of us on this side of the House might have expected a little more. Although scarcely thanking my noble friend for his reply, will he confirm that the designs for the Christmas issue of 1978 have already been approved? Why cannot the Government urge the Post Office to consider a charity issue for 1979, perhaps during the Christmas or Easter period? Would my noble friend not agree that there are at present many charities which are in grave financial difficulties and far more worthy of commemoration than the centenary of the Shire Horse Society which is to have a special issue of stamps on 5th July next year?

My Lords, I must apologise to the House and to my noble friend Lord Segal for my repetitious Answer. However, as my noble friend knows, the Post Office is not itself a charitable organisation and must therefore receive the extra costs involved in the issuing and selling of such stamps. My noble friend will be glad to know that the Post Office, in liaison with the National Council of Social Service, is studying another scheme relating not in fact to stamps but, I believe, to labels. Such a scheme would be simpler to administer and more effective as regards the financial result for the charity.

My Lords, would the Minister not agree that the most charitable thing the Post Office could do would be to reduce the cost of postage stamps, especially for Christmas cards?

My Lords, why cannot the Government urge the Post Office to organise a competition for the most beautiful designs for charity stamps, so that something a little more imaginative and attractive is produced than a wheelchair?

My Lords, I appreciate that the last stamp was hardly inspiring, but we cannot urge the Post Office to do anything. The noble Lord's appeal will be listened to.