Historical Background

The 'British Telecommunications Bill', introduced into Parliament in November 1980, contained clauses that partially modified the then total postal monopoly of the G.P.O. This bill was passed through Parliament in 1981, receiving the Royal Assent on 27th July of that year.

Section 68 of the bill gave the secretary of State for Industry powers to grant a licence allowing Charities to carry Christmas cards at a concessionary rate. Such a licence was granted by Mr. A. J. Mantle (Assistant Secretary, Department of Industry, on behalf of the Secretary of State) on 20th November 1981, and published in the 'London Gazette' of that date.

Such mail can only be carried "for the purposes of raising funds for charitable purposes" during the period from 25th November to 1st January. A 'Christmas card' is defined as 'a document which conveys a greeting appropriate to the seasons of Christmas and the New Year (or either of them) and no other communication', and a 'Charity' is defined as 'any body of persons or trust established for charitable purposes only'.

Since that time many organisations have taken advantage of the Section 68 licence to operate Christmas posts, and a great many of these were Scout & Guide groupings.

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This page last amended 18th July 2003
© Copyright 2002/2003/2004 John Crabbe.