§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he can explain why newspapers four ounces in weight are charged 1½d. to Ceylon, but only 1d. to Sydney, Australia, 5,000 miles further, and although the Australian mail steamers of the Penninsular and Oriental Company call at Ceylon?
§ * THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES,) Cambridge University
Ceylon is in the Postal Union, and consequently the postage rates on newspapers for that Colony are governed by the Union regulations. Newspapers sent viâ Brindisi to all places in the Union are charged 1½d. for four ounces. The Australian Colonies, on the other hand, are not within the Union, and under an arrangement made with them in 1880, when the Southampton route for mails to Australia was abandoned, it was agreed that the old long sea rate of 1d. should continue to be charged on newspapers for Australia, notwithstanding the fact that they would be forwarded in future by the quicker and more expensive route of Brindisi. I need hardly say that this was a very advantageous arrangement for the Australian Colonies.
§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that France, which is also in the Postal Union, charges 50 per cent less than England for letters and newspapers to our British Colony of Ceylon. May I ask, too, what excuse the British Postal Authorities give for taking advantage of a clause in the Postal Union for doubling 1288 the rates to Ceylon, and whether England cannot withdraw from the Postal Union by giving six months' notice.?