§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he will state the figures at which the Net Revenue—after deduction of Expenditure—of the Post Office and Telegraph Services severally stood for the years 1881 and 1887, and what is the falling off in the Net Revenue of each in the latter as compared with the former period; and, what is the additional sum which ought to be charged against the Telegraph Revenue in respect to the purchase money, and what was the net deficiency of that Revenue on such basis for the last financial year?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
The figures which my right hon. Friend asks for will be presented to the House in due course; but, in anticipation, I will give them as nearly as they can at present be ascertained in the form shown in the Appropriation Accounts. In 1880–1 the net Post Office Revenue—including in the expenditure the cost of Packet Service—was £2,586,436. For 1886–7 the Estimate is £2,400,000, showing a decrease in the six years of £186,000. The Telegraph Service showed in 1880–1 a surplus Revenue of £313,284. In 1886–7, however, instead of a surplus there will, it is expected, be a deficiency of £223,110, so that in the six years there is a falling off of no less than £536,394. This is omitting the interest on the purchase money of the Telegraphs—£326,417 a-year. If this be taken into account the deficit for the year 1886–7 will be £549,527. I should add that in both cases the falling off in the Revenue is due, not to diminished receipts, but to increased expenditure. Very large expenditure, much of it of a capital nature, has been incurred in the last two or three years for the introduction of the Parcels Post and sixpenny telegrams. I am very much obliged to my right hon. Friend for asking these questions, in order to draw the attention of the public to the falling off in the surplus of the Postal Telegraph Revenue and to the large charge which the Telegraph Service now imposes on the general revenues of the country.