§ MR. ANGUS SUTHERLAND (Sutherlandshire)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General what is the amount of the annual subsidy paid to the Highland Railway Company for carrying Her Majesty's mails; whether there has been a recent increase of that subsidy, and, if so, what is its date and amount; whether the Highland Railway Company has given an adequate, or any, increased postal facilities in consequence of such increase of subsidy; whether postal facilities on that part of the Highland Railway system to the north of Tain are not less now than they were six years ago through the withdrawal of the sorting van; and whether he will use his influence to get back for the public of the district referred to the postal facilities which they enjoyed before the increase of the said subsidy?
§ * THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES, University of Cambridge)
The payment made to the Highland Railway Company for mail service is now £55,526 a year under an award in arbitration before the Earl of Derby last November. Previously the payment was £43,080 a year. The services for which the higher amount is paid are practically the same as those which existed previously to the award. A greater train mileage, however, has by statutory notice been brought under the control of the Postmaster General. No sorting carriage proceeds beyond Tain, and the postal 1345 facilities of places north of that town are now somewhat less than they previously were. The outlay already incurred in conveying the mails to the North of Scotland is so large that I regret that I am not prepared to incur further expense in providing facilities which the amount of correspondence to be benefited would not warrant in view of the enormous sums now paid to the Highland Railway Company.