§ Order for Consideration read.
§ MR. FAWCETT
As there are no Amendments to this Bill, I would ask the House to consider it and allow it now to be read a third time.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said, he would not oppose the measure; but he desired to point out that some persons might be injured by it, and they were the people who for years had been engaged in the carrying trade—those who had hitherto had to do with the delivery of parcels. He saw the difficulty of admitting the principle of compensation, because, as the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General would tell him, there was no monopoly; but, at the same time, the right hon. Gentleman would admit that for a private individual to compete with the Post Office was an absolute impossibility. A great number of those interested in the carrying trade had communicated with him (Mr. Whitley), and had expressed the opinion that people who had carried on a business for 20 or 30 years, and had embarked large capital in it, would be utterly ruined by the passage of the measure. As compensation could not be given, he would ask whether it could not be arranged with the Railway Companies with whom the Postmaster General had entered into an agreement for the carrying of parcels at a certain tariff, that the same tariff should be allowed to the present carriers? If the right hon. Gentleman could do anything in that direction, he (Mr. Whitley) was sure he would remove a great deal of the apprehension which was now felt, and rightly so, by the members of the trade to which he referred. If the Postmaster General could see his way to exercise any influence he might have with the Railway Companies in order to induce the Companies to place the carriers in the same position pa to tariff as the Post Office, it would 872 be a great relief to an important class of traders; and, at the same time, he could not help thinking it would conduce to the interest of the Government.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, he was afraid it would be impracticable for him to make such a representation. He thought, however, that a feeling of self-interest would be likely to operate on the Railway Companies — as the Post Office, when this Bill passed, would not be able to prevent them from carrying parcels on their own account—and would make them anxious to give the best terms they could to the private parcel carriers. The Post Office would be limited to the carrying of parcels up to 7 lbs. in weight; and he believed the effect of the Bill would be to stimulate the carriage of parcels, and that very many more of over 7 lbs. in weight than were carried at present would be carried in the future. It seemed to him, therefore, that any pleas on behalf of the carriers would be unnecessary.
§ Bill, as amended, considered; read the third time, and passed.