Overseas Forces (Mail)

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 1951.

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Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South 12:00 am, 5th December 1951

asked the Minister of Defence if he will grant the concession of including letters in second-class air mail packets posted to His Majesty's Forces outside Europe.

Photo of Mr Anthony Head Mr Anthony Head , Carshalton

I have been asked to reply. No, Sir. If a letter is included in a second-class packet it becomes first-class mail, and under international agreement is liable to the postage rate for a letter. The hon. Lady is, however, aware that letters can be sent separately at very favourable concession rates for the Forces overseas.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that letters sent to people who are far away mean a great deal to them? In spite of international agreements, would the right hon. Gentleman, who I know wishes to help, have another look at this matter in view of the fact that it costs a great deal of money to send printed papers to our Forces outside Europe?

Photo of Mr Anthony Head Mr Anthony Head , Carshalton

I am aware of the hon. Lady's interest in mails—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."]—but I would point out that this suggestion that she has made would, in effect, defeat the object for which she is striving, because to put a letter into a second-class packet doubles the price of it, whereas if the letter goes by itself it costs only 2½d.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is replying on behalf of the three Services? If so, does that mean that his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, as Minister of Defence, has washed his hands of all details?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

I thought that on a matter of this kind I might well devolve some of my burdens.

Photo of Mr George Sylvester Mr George Sylvester , Pontefract

Would the Secretary of State look into this matter again, because he may be aware that I have drawn the attention of the Under-Secretary to the case of a constituent of mine who last Saturday had to pay £2 2s. 6d. to send a 2½ 1b. parcel to a boy of 19 in Malaya?

Photo of Mr Anthony Head Mr Anthony Head , Carshalton

If the hon. Gentleman will send particulars I will certainly look into them.

Photo of Mr George Sylvester Mr George Sylvester , Pontefract

I have already done so. I have told the Under-Secretary about it.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman—if I may include him among the males in whom I have an interest—if he would, during the Christmas Recess, look at this matter in general, because many people in this country are having to pay very large sums, quite legitimately I realise, on parcels sent to them by their soldier sons overseas. It is really a large matter, and if we send him details will he sympathetically look at the matter again?

Photo of Mr Anthony Head Mr Anthony Head , Carshalton

If the hon. Lady will send the details I can assure her that they will be looked into.