§ Mr. Peter Mills
asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is the total cost of all Government-franked letters; and what savings results from not using postage stamps.
§ Mr. Charles R. Morris
Records kept centrally do not distinguish between Government letter post and other forms of Government mail. The total provision made in the 1975–76 Estimates, including416W Summer and Winter Supplementary Estimates, to cover the cost of repayment to the Post Office for postal services is £78,285,000.
The arrangements made for paying for official paid stationery are based on a composite rate derived from a survey, made in 1971, to determine the proportions of 1st and 2nd class mail and the average weight of each package. The rate is updated when postage rates generally change. Thus the payments to the Post Office are intended to reflect the full cost of official paid mail.
The object of these special arrangements is to simplify the accounting arrangements. A change over to the use of postage stamps would certainly result in additional staff being taken on to handle, affix and account for the stamps but it is not possible to estimate the numbers that would be involved.