§ MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
asked the Postmaster General, If, before the terms of any Convention between Her Majesty's Government and the French Republic are finally agreed upon, every effort will be made to provide for the reduction of the cost of messages to the combined inland rates of both countries after the purchase-money has been recouped, and that, in the meantime, it should not exceed that combined rate of 1d. per word by more than ½d., having regard to the large commercial interests affected, and also to the fact that submarine telegraphy over the longer distance between Great Britain and Ireland, or the Channel Islands, involves no advance on the British inland rate, and that the charge between France and Algeria is only 1d. per word?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)
I think I should explain to the hon. Member, with reference to his Question, that while no extra charge is made upon inland messages passing over the cables between Great Britain and Ireland and Great Britain and the Channel Islands, there is no question that the maintenance of those cables involves a considerable yearly loss. The negotiations with the French Government are still proceeding; and I can, at the present time, only say that I hope a substantial reduction in the present charge for messages passing between this country and France will be made.