§ 18. Mr. Allason
asked the Postmaster-General what proposals he has to improve the postal service in Harpenden.
§ Mr. Joseph Slater
My right hon. Friend much regrets that shortage of staff has made it impossible for us to maintain the normal standard of postal service in Harpenden: we are doing all we can to get more staff and, meanwhile, to give the best service that is possible in the circumstances.
§ Mr. Allason
Is the hon. Member aware that the situation now is that firms have been invited to call at the post office at nine o'clock in the morning to collect their own mail and when they arrive they are told that the mail is not ready because there are not enough sorters, and that they have to wait until half-past nine? Further, is he aware that for private residents the post may arrive at any time up to one o'clock in the afternoon? Will he consider bringing in exchange staff from other towns, in view of the fact that other towns locally have a full, normal postal service? Why 500 is it that Harpenden should be singled out for this very exceptional treatment?
§ Mr. Slater
I am aware of the great interest that the hon. Member has taken in this matter from the correspondence that has passed between him and myself and also my predcessor in reference to that town. I must inform him that we have tried, by intensive advertising and other means, to recruit additional staff both locally and from other places. We have also, from time to time, lent staff to Harpenden from other places. These measures have hitherto met with only limited success, but we shall persist with them and do everything we can to maintain for Harpenden a postal service which is on as good a basis as we can provide.
§ Mr. Allason
Will the hon. Gentleman be a little more serious about my suggestion concerning exchange staff? Since towns alongside are getting normal services, why should not there be fair shares for all? Who is responsible for sticking "Ban the Bomb" notices on the postal boxes?
§ Mr. Speaker
That is a different question. The first part of the supplementary question was largely repetition, but if he thinks that something was added in it the Minister may care to reply.