Is my right hon. Friend aware that the parcel post between these two parts of the United Kingdom at present is little short of a national scandal? Parcels rarely take less than three days and frequently over a week to reach their destination, and perishable goods frequently do perish. Furthermore, is my right hon. Friend aware that he is asking the public to pay more for what is a totally inadequate service, particularly for the business community of Northern Ireland which depends on it?
I am really not aware of the kind of conditions to which my hon. Friend refers. Some two or three years ago it took two days for parcels posted in London to reach Belfast whereas now, I am advised, such parcels usually reach Belfast the next day. I do not pretend that the service is as satisfactory as we would wish it to be, but I suggest that my hon. Friend's statement is an exaggeration.