HL Deb 09 April 1975 vol 359 cc77-9

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 whether it is not appropriate to continue to use Argyll as the postal address of the people living there.


My Lords, I understand that the Post Office is consulting its customers in Scotland about the possible use of new postal addresses for Scotland based on the new local government Regions and Island Areas which are to be established on 16th May next under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. At present the Post Office uses the existing county structure as a basis for dealing with mail. It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on the form of postal addresses as this is a matter for the Post Office to determine taking into account the needs of operational efficiency, but I have no doubt that the Post Office will bear in mind the views of the noble Lord.


Yes, my Lords, but is it not possible for the Government to use their undoubted influence in this matter on the Director of Posts for four rather obvious and specific reasons? The first is that it is hard enough to have to pay the increased charges without having to add another ten or so letters to each envelope that one posts. The second reason is that the costs of changing the addresses of every business and every home in Scotland as a block are very considerable. The third reason is that, as we understand it, we are now all to be given numbers as well as addresses to facilitate the delivery of the post. Lastly, not one single person in the whole of Argyll wants it. Can the Government please demonstrate these facts clearly to the Director of Posts and get him to make up his mind?


My Lords, so far as the ten or so additional letters on the regional descriptions are concerned, I think this was a concoction of the previous Administration and not of the present one. So far as the cost is concerned, I agree with the noble Lord that there will be considerable expenditure in changing letter-headings, addressographs, computer files and so on, and I am certain that the Post Office will take this into account. So far as the numbers are concerned, if the noble Lord is saying that he would rather be acquainted with or would rather be attached to and associated with Argyll rather than a number, I understand and agree with him absolutely. But so far as the efficient sorting out of mail is concerned, this is something for the Post Office and we must leave it to them.


My Lords, as the post code for the area is based on Paisley—which is in Renfrewshire— would he not agree that it would do great harm if further complications arose with regard to the use of the word "Argyll" by substituting West Clyde?


My Lords, as I have said, the Post Office is consulting its customers, trade associations and the Post Office Users' Council for Scotland. I am quite certain that they are better able than I to comment on what the noble Lord has said.


My Lords, will the noble Lord also convey to the authorities in this matter the fact that by reading history one cannot find that there have always been the most friendly relations between the people of Argyll and the people of Strathclyde? In these circumstances—and to help maintain the happy relations which now exist—would he please allow them to continue to use the word "Argyll" in their correspondence?


My Lords, there is absolutely no doubt that we shall not foist upon the people concerned the designations which the previous Government saw fit to apply to regional districts.


s: My Lords, would it not be better if Her Majesty's Government persuaded the chairman of the Post Office not to make up his mind, so that the whole matter was left in abeyance?


My Lords, that is not beyond the bounds of possibility.


Is it a fact, my Lords, that Strathclyde has been treated differently from any other region? In the region in which I live we have four districts and each is allowed to keep its own county in name.


My Lords, I accept what the noble Baroness says. This is a point of view that I am certain will be expressed to the Post Office, which is considering the matter.

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