HC Deb 07 June 1888 vol 326 cc1380-1

asked the Postmaster General, Whether his attention has been called to the alterations in the Austrian train service to Calais, by which certain fast trains are withdrawn; whether the delay in the delivery of London letters in Vienna amounts to 18 hours, and the delay in the delivery of Vienna letters in London is even greater, and whether he will remonstrate against the changes in question; and, whether the Austrian Government now charges a now impost of two kreutzers on newspapers from England, and if that charge is warranted by the Postal Union Regulations?

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

I have observed articles in the newspapers on this subject, and have instituted inquiry upon it. The evening mail now leaves Vienna at 5 p.m., instead of 3.25, and reaches London, viâ Calais, at 6 a.m. on the next day but one, instead of at 4 a.m. viâ Ostend. Letters from Vienna to London have, consequently, the advantage of being posted an hour and a-half later, while they are delivered at the same time. Some disadvantage may, I fear, be caused to English Provincial towns by the later arrival of this mail in England. There has been no alteration in the hours of despatch either of the day or night mail from London to Vienna, though I have reason to believe that the latter is now delayed for several hours at Cologne, and reaches Vienna about 10 hours later than formerly. I shall lose no time in addressing the Austrian Post Office as to the probability of any better communication being arranged. I am not aware that the Austrian Government charges a now impost of two kreutzers on newspapers from England. That Government established some years ago a financial impost of one or two kreutzers on foreign newspapers entering the Empire; but this tax is not a postal charge, and is not levied under Postal Union Regulations, which, of course, do not affect the general taxation of the countries belonging to the Union.