HC Deb 22 February 1887 vol 311 cc291-2
MR. KING (Hull, Central)

asked the Postmaster General, Whether the rate of postage to India and China from France, Belgium, and Germany by British steamers, subsidized by the British Government, is 2d. per half-ounce, while the rate from England to the same countries, for letters carried in the same British steamers, is 5d. per half-ounce; whether the English Government receives, under the International Postal Convention, as consideration for the carriage of letters to India and China in steamers subsidized with English money, the sum of 1½d. per half-ounce; and, whether there is any loss on such carriage; and, if so, why the Government undertakes to carry at a loss for foreign countries, while declining to reduce the double postage charged upon the people of the United Kingdom and India?

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

My answer to the hon. Member's first and second Questions is in the affirmative. On the third point, I may say that there is no loss on the carriage of these foreign letters to India and China, because the Post Office pays a fixed subsidy to the British contractors for carrying the Indian and China mails; and if we did not get the foreign letters even at the cheap rate of 1½d. each, our receipts would be so much the less, and our yearly loss so much the greater.