§ Mr. Batiste
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has any plans to remove the statutory exemption from liability for negligence from the Post Office.
§ Mr. Leigh
We have no present plans to do so. However, as we said in the citizens charter, we have asked the Post Office to carry out an urgent review of its redress schemes with POUNC, the statutory body representing the interests of all Post Office users. The review is looking at the scope of current compensation arrangements as well as at the levels of compensation offered.
As also set out in the charter, it is our intention that in future the Secretary of State will have powers to approve the arrangements for redress where service fails to meet the reasonable expectations of the Post Office's customers.
§ Mr. Leigh
The range of business transacted at Crown post offices and sub-post office agencies is an operational matter determined in negotiations between Post Office Counters Ltd. and each individual client.
I understand that, with the exception of those located at international airports, sub-post office agencies do not issue British visitors passports; and that the issue of motor vehicle licences is carried out by 2,825 offices, both Crown and agency, at the request of DVLA. Other transactions available in Crown offices and some but not all agency offices are acceptance of datapost and the re-setting of franking machines. There is no change in the range of transactions carried out by Crown offices which have been converted to sub-post offices.
§ Mr. Hain
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Post Office Crown branch offices in(a) Britain and (b) south Wales are in each of the three categories A, B and C specified by Post Office Counters for (i) 1989 and (ii) projected by management for the end of 1992; and what is the proposed percentage change in each category.
§ Mr. Leigh
The numbers of Crown post offices in categories A, B, and C in(a) Britain and (b) south Wales counters district (B and C not separately identified) at 31 March 1989 were as follows:
A B C Britain 498 552 443 South Wales 20 —35—
An effect of the Crown conversion programme may be to change the percentage distribution of offices between these categories; in addition, the precise effect in any area will depend on negotiations with potential agency operators and the outcome of the local consultation procedure. It is therefore not possible to project numbers for the end of 1992.