§ MR. TOWNSEND (Warwickshire, Stratford-on-Avon)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether representations have reached him urging the adoption of postcards similar to those in almost universal use on the Continent, which, by being made of cheap and light material, would cost and weigh less, and by being larger than our own lessen the danger of loss in transit; whether, as it is stated in the Report of the Select Committee referred to in answer to a former question on the subject of postcards, that the late Mr. De la Rue, the contractor, on 1st May, 1888, said … "our prices on certain lines are excessive, I refer to postcards more particularly," … and that these prices have since been considerably reduced; also, as it is stated in the same Report, that the Post Office Department is "not administered with any view to an ultimate profit to the State," he can now concede to the public the sale of postcards at their stamp value, allowing any loss there from to be met by a portion of the large surplus derived from other paying postal sources; and whether he is aware that private firms are now selling postcards cheaper and better than can be bought at the Post Offices?
§ * MR. RAIKES
The majority of representations made to me, and amongst them I must include one from my hon. Friend himself on the 11th of April last, have been in favour of the adoption of a single stout card rather than of the adoption of the kind of card which he now indicates, and I hope that before long we may see the light thin card abandoned altogether. With regard to the second paragraph of the question, so far as it relates to the administration 421 of the Post Office, I must point out that the quotation from the Report of the Select Committee of this House made by the hon. Member appears to me from the context to bear a meaning precisely opposite to the meaning which the hon. Member attaches to it. He is aware that all the half-penny business of the Post Office is conducted at a loss, and I do not think Parliament is prepared to augment that loss by selling cards at the stamp value. I am aware that private firms for advertising purposes sell post cards at less than the actual cost, but I am not aware that such cards are better than those which can be bought at post offices.