§ 2.40 p.m.
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government on what date the automatic parcel letter tray and packet handling system installed for the Birmingham post office was completed and ready for use; when it was brought into full operation; and what is the estimated annual saving expressed both in terms of cash and in manpower.
§ The MINISTER of STATE, DEPARTMENT of INDUSTRY (LORD BESWICK)
My Lords, these are operational matters for which the Post Office 1161 is responsible. I am therefore asking its Chairman to write to the noble Lord.
My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that that is rather a weak Answer? Could he not give some indication that the Post Office is at least not hostile to innovation in the way that is widely believed as a result of their handling—and some of their men's handling—of this important piece of new equipment?
§ Lord BESWICK
My Lords, I am sorry that the noble Lord thinks that I gave a weak Answer. It happens to be a truthful one. I do not accept the deduction he draws that, because a letter tray in Birmingham post office is not working, the Post Office is hostile to modern equipment.