§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
asked the Postmaster General, Whether his attention has been called to the fact that printed Circulars issued by Friendly Societies to members in arrear of subscriptions are charged ld. inland postage, whilst mercantile invoices of goods sold or sent are allowed to pass with ½d. inland postage; and, 881 whether there is any good reason for this different rate of postage; and, if not, whether the Government will place the Circulars of Friendly Societies on a footing of equality with mercantile invoices?
§ SIR EDWARD BIRKBECK (Norfolk, E.)
also had the following Question on the Paper:—To ask the Posmaster General, Whether, taking into consideration the fact that on the 25th of August last year, in answer to a Question relative to members of Friendly Societies having to pay 1d. postage on Circulars, and which, if enclosed in another paper, are charged only ½d., and to his reply to the same, he can now see his way to remove the anomaly in the present practice?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)
The Question standing in the name of the hon. Member for St. Rollox and that in the name of the hon. Member for East Norfolk relate to the same subject, and it will be well, perhaps, to answer them together. I would explain that the documents intimating arrears, &c., which, of course, vary in their details, do not come within the definition of "circulars," and are liable to the letter rate of postage. I have, however, for some time past had under consideration the claims brought before me on behalf of Friendly Societies by the hon. Members for East Norfolk (Sir Edward Birkbeck) and South Islington (Sir Albert Rollit); and shall be very glad if I am able, without embarrassment to the Public Service, in any way to meet the views of those whom they represent. I understand that a Bill in some shape dealing with the subject has been brought in by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the London University (Sir John Lubbock), and an opportunity may, perhaps, arise for getting at the sense of the House on the matter.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered the latter part of the Question, as to why the circulars of Friendly Societies should not be treated on a similar footing to mercantile invoices?
§ MR. RAIKES
said, no doubt the mercantile invoices were sent at a halfpenny postage; but two wrongs did not make a right.