HC Deb 25 August 1887 vol 319 cc1814-5
DR. CLARK (Caithness)

asked the Postmaster General, Whether the through postal communication along the line of the Caledonian Canal, between Inverness and Fort William, is broken by a distance of 16 miles (between Invergarry and Spean Bridge), whereby persons along the route cannot intercommunicate without an interval of several days; whether numerous petitions have, from time to time, been sent from the inhabitants to have this state of matters remedied; whether it is the practice for the Post Office, in estimating the Revenue from the remoter districts in the Highlands, to count only the letters carried out from the post office, and not to count those carried to it; whether they only allow a halfpenny for each letter instead of 1d., and only 1d. for every parcel whatever its weight; whether over five miles of this gap of 16 miles—namely, between Spean Bridge and Glengloy, the Post Office refuses to supply postal communication unless the cost is guaranteed by private individuals; whether 9,000 letters are carried to the post office, and as many carried from this district in a year, while the whole cost of the service is only 10s. a-week; whether the carriage of letters from Invergarry Post Office, Invernessshire (the only post office serving the surrounding district of upwards of 100 square miles), to Achnacarry, a distance of eight miles direct, occupies about 48 hours; whether these letters are sent by a circuitous route of about 180 miles; and, whether letters from Invergarry to Paris are delivered as soon as letters from Invergarry to Achnacarry, a distance of eight miles?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

The facts stated by the hon. Member are substantially correct; but he has omitted to state that during the summer months, when the steamers are running, direct postal communication between Inverness and Fort William is main- tained. There is a difficulty about maintaining such communication in the months when the steamers are not running, as the amount of correspondence is too trifling to warrant any increased expenditure in the way of additional mail carts. It has, therefore, been necessary to have recourse for the local letters to the circuitous route viâ Inverness and Kingussie, for correspondence emanating from Invergarry and other adjacent places. But I shall be glad to consider whether some economical system of post may not, under the special circumstances, be established.