Mr Ernest Bennett: The postal services in Gateside appear to be giving satisfaction generally, but an increase in the amount of correspondence has caused some slight delay in the postal delivery in a portion of the district. Adjustments have now been carried out which will, I hope, remove the difficulty.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The statement of the hon. Member does not agree with the information I have received from other sources to the effect that dissatisfaction has practically disappeared as a result of recent improvements in the local postal services.
Mr Ernest Bennett: If the hon. Gentleman will send me any more information I will be glad to go into it.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The drivers of mail vans owned by the Post Office are not insured. In the event of an accident in which the driver of such a van is involved, it is the practice of the Department to accept the same degree of liability in respect of a claim for civil damages as is imposed on a private employer?
Mr Ernest Bennett: No, the Government do not insure their property or their servants. The object of private third-party insurance is, of course, to secure the existence, so to speak, of a definite person who can and must meet damages assessed against him. In the case of Government property or servants, no such insurance is necessary, because the risks are spread over the whole of the taxpaying community.
Mr Ernest Bennett: Out of State funds.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The reason why we did not acknowledge liability in that case was that, according to the evidence before us, we did not think that the responsibility for what happened was on our driver. I need not say that in a case like that the aggrieved person can of course proceed against the driver in the courts, and we accept service on behalf of the driver and, if the case is given against him, also pay up.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The air postage for newspapers sent by letter post for transmission by air throughout to Calcutta is 8d. for the first half ounce and 7d. for each additional half ounce, but they may be sent as parcels by air to Karachi at the rate of 3s. per half pound. These rates are based on the cost of air conveyance.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am well aware that the charge is considerable. The hon. Member may rest assured that the question of postal rates is always being kept in mind, and if at any time Imperial Airways are able to reduce their charges, we shall be able to effect a corresponding reduction in our own rates.
Mr Ernest Bennett: One can hardly compare the railway charges with those for air transport. The matter is in fact almost entirely one of Imperial Airways' charges.
Mr Ernest Bennett: Arrangements have been made to instal four date indicators at the public counter in the Glasgow Head Post Office.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I have just informed the hon. Member that I have given him more than he has asked. He asked for one, and I have given him four.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I have received the petition in question and will write to my hon. Friend when I have made the necessary inquiries.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am afraid that I cannot add to what I have told the hon. Member, namely, that I have received a petition and am looking into the matter.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am unaware of any foundation for the suggestion that numerous accidents are due to the proximity of telephone or telegraph poles to highways. The Post Office does not erect poles in dangerous positions; and when a pole already in position becomes dangerous to traffic through road-widening, or any other cause, it is set back. If my hon. Friend will let me know of any case in which he thinks...
Mr Ernest Bennett: The arrangements for the assessment and collection of charges for telegrams handed in at telegraph offices in India and Kenya for transmission overseas are under the control of the Administrations of those countries, and I have no power to intervene in the matter as my hon. Friend suggests.
Mr Ernest Bennett: If the hon. Gentleman wishes to pursue the question, he had better address questions to the Secretary of State for India and the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Mr Ernest Bennett: Any London subscriber who asks his local operator for "foreign telegrams" or who dials the appropriate code (557) is immediately connected to a foreign-speaking operator at the Central Telegraph Office; and there would accordingly be no advantage in adopting this suggestion. If my hon. and gallant Friend has informa- tion as to any difficulties experienced, I shall be glad to make inquiries...
Mr Ernest Bennett: According to the latest information in my possession, mails to this country from Hong Kong sent via Siberia are forwarded via, Japan, Fusan, Hsinking and Manchuli.
Mr Ernest Bennett: In any case, the responsibility for the routes for the carriage of mails coming from the Colonies to this country is solely the responsibility of the Colonial post offices concerned.