HC Deb 10 March 1884 vol 285 cc1033-4

asked the Postmaster General, Whether he is aware that circulars can be posted in open envelopes in most countries of the Postal Union at prices varying from the one-fortieth to one-tenth of a penny per circular; that such circulars are received and delivered by the British Post Office when coming from abroad, but that they cannot be posted in this country; and, if so, could he remove such distinction, which is found to be detrimental to the commerce of this Country?


Sir, my impression is that in most countries of the Postal Union no distinction is made between "circulars" and other printed matter. I am not aware of the precise inland rates for such matter in those countries; but the rate on book packets coming to this country from France, for instance, is practically the same as that on printed matter sent from here to France—namely, ½d. for each 2 ozs. in weight. Circulars in open envelopes are, I believe, received in small numbers from abroad, and are allowed to pass. The question of allowing in this country the use of open envelopes, as my hon. Friend proposes, instead of wrappers open at the ends, has been often and fully considered; but, amongst other objections to the adoption of this plan, the practical officers who are experienced in sorting tell me that the extra time which would be required to examine the packets would cause delay which might be serious in view of the extreme pressure under which sorting has to be carried on during the short interval between the time when the post closes and the despatch of the mails.