THE EARL OF HARROWBY
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What approximate percentage of United Kingdom towns and villages have postal addresses outside their own county, and whether methods could be considered for obviating this in view of the pepetual complications and inaccuracies caused thereby, among which are the statistical returns made on the basis of counties assuming postal addresses to represent areas of origin.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT (LORD CHESHAM)
Taking as a basis towns and villages which have a Post Office—and there are about 18,000 of them—the figure for which the noble Lord asks is about 7 per cent. or some 1,200 places. For the most part, it is small villages on the fringe of county boundaries which have in their postal address the name of a county other than that in which they are situated.
Postal addresses are in effect routing instructions for Post Office sorters and, in settling what they should be, the main concern is to ensure a quick and efficient service at reasonable cost. The general aim is to align postal boundaries with those of the counties and where this has not been done it is usually because road and rail communications are such that mail can be got more quickly and efficiently to and from certain villages, et cetera, via a neighbouring county than via the county in which they are situated. Alignment of postal and county boundaries in these instances would mean either a poorer postal service for the villages, et cetera, in question or prohibitively heavy additional costs.
I am sure my right honourable friend, the Postmaster General, would be glad to look into any particular case of difficulty to which an address of the kind in question gives rise; but it would be misleading if I were to give the impression that it would be feasible to do away with such addresses.
House adjourned at six minutes past eight o'clock.