Mr Ernest Bennett: That is true, but a fund of £2,000,000 would not go very far to meet the demand made on the hon. Gentleman which meant something like £4,500,000. The hon. Member for East Cardiff (Mr. T. Morris) asked me a question, which has been asked before, about the importation of foreign timber into England for Post Office purposes. A certain amount of attention has been paid to the topic in the...
Mr Ernest Bennett: There is time to do much between now and 1936, but I will bear in mind what my hon. Friend says and bring it to my right hon. Friend's notice. The hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Maitland) mentioned night telegraph letters. I do not think that service is sufficiently known. In the smoking room of a London Club the other night I found that not a quarter of the people had ever heard of it, and...
Mr Ernest Bennett: The question of a flat rate has been considered over and over again by the Post Office authorities. At present we have not seen our way to accept a flat rate. I am quite prepared to review the matter, and it may be that further reasons may be seen for making a change. I regret that I missed hearing the Lady's remarks on this subject.
Mr Ernest Bennett: Speaking for myself, the hon. Member's suggestion of a special committee to consider the subject of air mails may be worth pursuing. With regard to television, I am afraid that I know nothing about it. I can only await the report of the excellent Committee which we have set up. The hon. Member who spoke last asked one or two questions regarding the very old subject of restoration of the penny...
Mr Ernest Bennett: If you reduce the cost of the stamp, you do not necessarily increase the amount of traffic. It really does not follow. After the War, when the reduction was made from 2d. to l½d., the increase in the amount of postage was not at all large. The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) brought forward the case of a constituent who had been refused work in the Post Office, because he was too short....
Mr Ernest Bennett: The figure for which the hon. Member asks is £74,850.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am afraid I cannot answer that offhand, but I will get the information and let the hon. Member know.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am aware of the case to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. The conversation, which strongly suggested an attempt at fraud, was overheard by a telephone operator in the course of supervising a call in which exceptional measures were necessary to establish proper connection. Operators are instructed not to listen in to a telephone conversation except so far as is necessary to ensure...
Mr Ernest Bennett: I will pass my hon. Friend's suggestion on to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Mr Ernest Bennett: It may be so, but we have no jurisdiction in the matter, and I think the only thing I can do is to pass it on to the British Broadcasting Corporation to expedite an answer.
Mr Ernest Bennett: During the year 1933, mail bags were stolen or tampered with in course of transit on 49 occasions. On 48 of these occasions the loss is believed to have occurred on the railway. The corresponding figures for the first five months of this year are 22 and 20 respectively. It is not possible to state the total loss involved, as there is no record of the value of the contents of letters carried;...
Mr Ernest Bennett: That matter is under consideration.
Mr Ernest Bennett: My right hon. Friend is looking into the matter and will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The amount was £2,936,519. No part of the deposits is invested, the money being largely used as working capital and consequently no interest is received.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The present practice is to provide one kiosk without guarantee in association with each rural automatic exchange. Otherwise a kiosk is not provided without guarantee in replacement of an open telephone call office in a rural area unless the estimated annual receipts will suffice to cover the full annual costs of the kiosk.
Mr Ernest Bennett: There are exceptional cases in which, I am sorry to say, we make mistakes. We over-estimated the amount that was going to be received from a kiosk in two cases, but in those cases we have faced up to the fact and borne the loss. The two villages are Christmas Pie and Send Village.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am afraid that the arrangement would involve complications, as the regulations require that the completed form should be forwarded to the taxation department of the council in whose area the applicant resides; and many persons obtaining forms at post offices in London reside outside.
Mr Ernest Bennett: My right hon Friend has agreed that discussions shall take place with representatives of the staff, and arrangements for these discussions are now being made.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am afraid I cannot add anything to the answer that I have given.
Mr Ernest Bennett: No decisions have yet been arrived at in this matter. As my right hon. Friend stated yesterday, the Charter of the British Broadcasting Corporation has still more than two years to run.