HC Deb 23 June 1879 vol 247 c423

asked the Postmaster General, Whether, looking to the largely increased subsidy which the Country is to pay under the new Postal Contract with the Peninsular and Oriental Company for a nominally accelerated service, the stoppage which it is proposed to allow at Hongkong on the homeward voyage will not entirely neutralise the gain in sea and speed; and, whether the practical working of the service will not be that at the season when it suits the Peninsular and Oriental Company to avail themselves of the stoppage, they will remain at Hongkong and other ports to load cargo, to the detriment of unsubsidised rivals; but when it does not suit the Company to remain because there is no cargo to be had, they will obtain the sanction of local postmasters to an earlier start, and make the voyage at reduced speed, with less cost to themselves, while they are all the time paid by the Country for fast speed?


Sir, the subsidy to be paid to the Peninsular and Oriental Company under the new contract will be much less, and not more, than the sum now paid. The period fixed for the stay of the Peninsular and Oriental Packet at Hong Kong under the new contract was stipulated for in the Company's tender. It will not be in the power of the Company to obtain more time for steaming by shortening their stay at Hong Kong, because in reckoning the duration of each voyage the actual stop only, and not the nominal stop fixed in the time-table, will be taken into account.