HC Deb 26 July 1889 vol 338 cc1417-8
MR. KING (Hull, Central)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General, with reference to evidence given before the Select Committee on the Revenue Departments Estimates with regard to the revision of arrangements with the French and Italian Post Offices for the conveyance of Her Majesty's mails to and from India, Australia, &c, whether he has been able to take any steps in the direction indicated; and if he can hold out any prospect of a reduction in the rates fixed in July, 1887, or of improving any of the other conditions of the arrangements then made?

* THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES,) University of Cambridge

I am glad to inform the hon. Member that I have been able to take such steps as he refers to, and have succeeded in obtaining from the French and Italian Governments a further reduction of the transit rates payable for the special conveyance of the Eastern mails through France and Italy. It may interest the House to know that this reduction of rates, which will come into operation on the 1st of January, 1890, is estimated to represent in the aggregate a saving of between five and six thousand pounds a year, over and above the very large saving secured in July, 1887. Further, the porterage at Calais connected with these mails, hitherto separately paid for by this country at the rate of about £1,000 a year, will in future be provided by France free of special charge; and, among other advantages recently gained, I may mention an acceleration by two hours of the special train service from Modane to Brindisi—an acceleration already in force—and the establishment of a special branch service from Foggia to Naples after the close of this year, with a view to accelerating the mails for Australia carried by the Orient Steam Navigation Company from Naples. The House may also be interested to learn that, under the arrangements made in July, 1887, and June, 1889, the Post Office Department is placed in a position to send, if it requires to do so, all classes of correspondence to the East by all-sea routes at lower rates of postage than by the overland route. I have much pleasure in acknowledging the courteous attention which the French and Italian Postal Authorities gave to my representations, and the spirit of conciliation in which they eventually complied with my application for the foregoing concessions.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if the changes will enable him to reduce the carriage of mails from India from 5d. to 2d.?


No, Sir.