§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what use his Department makes of the private sector for the movement of parcels, packages, documents and letters; and if he will estimate the proportion of his Department's mail handled in this way.
§ Mr. Jopling
My Department uses the private sector for the movement of mail whenever the circumstances show it to be most cost effective, having regard to the weight, volume, security and urgency of the material to be conveyed. In the current financial year, 1983–84, mail handled by the Post Office is expected to cost £1,745,000, by the private sector £118,000 and the inter-departmental service £79,000. The departmental van service also carries some mail but the cost of this is not readily indentifiable.