Postcode System

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th July 1968.

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Photo of Mr Ronald Russell Mr Ronald Russell , Wembley South 12:00 am, 25th July 1968

asked the Postmaster-General if he intends to extend the postcode system to other cities; and what will be the saving of manpower and of cost as a result.

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

Yes, Sir. Postcodes have been introduced in London, W.1 and 21 provincial towns. We will complete the coding of London and 70 large provincial towns by 1970. Postcodes enable mail to be sorted by machines. We cannot yet be precise about the manpower saving but the investment will be well worthwhile.

Photo of Mr Ronald Russell Mr Ronald Russell , Wembley South

Is not the Postmaster-General aware that these postcodes are about as difficult to remember as the all-figure telephone numbers? Will he not take that disadvantage into account to be set against any saving?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I believe that in time people will get used to the numbers, however complicated they may appear to be at the outset.

Photo of Mr Michael English Mr Michael English , Nottingham West

Contrary to the view expressed in the last question, does not my hon Friend think it a little strange that the Post Office are to introduce letters and numbers in these codes at the same time as they are trying to get rid of letters for telephone numbers?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

No. The same considerations do not apply. With telephones we have to bear in mind the need for international dialling when the instruments abroad are not the same as they are in this country.

Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden

Is the Postmaster-General aware that those of us who have been to Norwich have been impressed by the experiment in mechanisation taking place there? But is he aware that I found the Post Office workers rather depressed at the slow speed at which this work was developing and spreading to other telephones?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I am glad that the hon. Member and his colleagues have had a chance to see that development, which I hope soon to see for myself, but I am not aware that the staff have expressed any doubts about it.