§ MR. W. T. WILSON (Lancashire, Westhoughton)
To ask the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to the telegraphic delays that took place at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Birmingham, Liverpool, London, Bristol, Dublin, Exeter, and Glasgow during the months of July, August, and September; whether 1085 this delay is due to the fact that the number of the staff is based upon the minimum requirements of the offices, and that the delay on telegrams is ignored by the Department unless a certain average per hour per unit of staff is performed; and whether he has any official reports showing that the decline in the receipts of the telegraph system is due to the growing inefficiency and un-punctuality of the service.
(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) My attention is called from time to time to telegraphic delays, and in the case of some at least of the cities mentioned by the hon. Member I have had special in-inquiry made, and the result reported to me specially. It is not the fact that the number of the staff is based upon the minimum requirements of the offices, or that the delay on telegrams is ignored unless a certain average of work per unit of staff is performed. The hon. Member has been misinformed on these points. I have reason to believe that the telegraph system is not less efficient than it ever was. As a matter of fact the delays are loss than formerly. If reasonable economies are to prevail the staff cannot be based on the maximum demand that may at any time occur. The hon. Member is aware that the summer months are those when the telegraph business is at its maximum. It is during those months that a considerable proportion of the telegraphists take their holidays, which, looking at the difficulty of obtaining sufficient season assistants, adds considerably to the difficulties of conducting the service during the summer.