§ MR. FRASER-MACKINTOSH (Inverness-shire)
asked the Postmaster General, Whether he is aware that the contract for the carriage of mails by steamer from Oban to Fort William stipulates that the arrival shall be at 3.30 p.m. in summer and 4.30 p.m. in winter, but that the steamer is generally half-an-hour, and often an hour, behind time; whether the contractors who forward the mails from Fort William to the inland portions of the parishes of Kilmallie and Ardnamurchan are obliged to be, and stand, in readiness at the post office at the above hours of 3.30 and 4.30 respectively; whether there is any penalty in the steamer contract for breach of agreement; and, whether he will take steps either to enforce punctuality or payment of the penalty?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)
, in reply, said: The hon. Member is right in his facts as regards the carriage of mails by the steamer from Oban to Fort William. The loss of time which has occurred is due to the exigencies of traffic and the state of the weather, which has been recently exceptionally severe. There are no penalties. To provide for such in the contract would largely enhance the subsidy. The service, as a whole, is, I consider, satisfactorily performed. The contractors and the postmen who carry forward the mails from Fort William are, of course, required to be in attendance at the stated hours of arrival of the packet. The Ardnamurchan Post, I may mention, does not start from Fort William at all, but from Ardgowan, a point at which the steamer calls before reaching Fort William.