asked the Postmaster-General how many approved societies use the system of postal drafts for paying National Health Insurance benefits; whether he is aware that the original charge by the Post Office for these drafts was increased in 1919 by 100 per cent. and within the last few weeks has been further increased by 66⁔per cent.; whether the last increase was made with the approval of the Minister of Health; and whether he will consider the advisability of reducing the charge for these drafts, and so encourage the use of the system by approved societies, thereby adding to the Post Office revenue?
The postal draft system is used by 23 approved societies. The charge covers the bare cost to the Post Office. The original charge for 50 postal drafts was based upon an estimate, and was found to be insufficient, even at pre-War prices. The recent alterations were necessitated by this fact and by increases in the cost of labour and materials, and were considerably overdue. The charge is not fixed by the Minister of Health, but by the Treasury, and will be reduced as soon as the actual cost falls.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that there is a danger of the societies giving up the use of these drafts altogether and so of cutting down the Post Office revenue?