HC Deb 09 July 1883 vol 281 cc799-800

asked the Postmaster General, in reference to the Scheme suggested by him for the reduction of the minimum charge for Post Office telegrams to 6d. and de-scribed as Scheme 1 in the Treasury Minute of the 14th June 1883, proposing that— Free addresses should be abolished, and a ½d. charged for each word, including the address; minimum charge 6d.; whether he is aware that, if that scheme should be adopted, it would effectually prevent there being any 6d. telegrams whatever, and increase the charge for telegrams of twenty words from twenty-five to fifty per cent.; and, whether he is aware that Scheme 2, viz.:— Address of receiver to be free, but that of the sender to be charged for; 6d. to be charged for the first five words, and 2d. additional for each subsequent five words, would also preclude the possibility of 6d. telegrams being used, and would increase the charge for telegrams of twenty words thirty per cent.?


Sir, it will no doubt be the case, as stated by my hon. Friend, that if either Scheme 1 or Scheme 2 mentioned in the Treasury Minute were adopted, the charge for messages containing 20 words in the body of the telegram might be greater than it now is. I cannot, however, agree with him that, under this scheme, no telegrams would be sent at the minimum charge of 6d.; on the contrary, I think the number of such telegrams would be very large. It was stated on Thursday last that no decision as to the particular scheme to be adopted would be come to by the Government until next Session. I may add, however, that if a charge were made for the whole or any part of the address, or if the charge for 20 words in the body of the telegram were greater than it now is, it would be necessary, as free addresses are allowed and the present tariff is fixed by Act of Parliament, to introduce a Bill to give effect to the new arrangement. The House would, therefore, have an opportunity of discussing the question.