§ MR. FELLOWES (Hunts, Ramsey)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether his attention has again been called to the very serious loss and inconvenience experienced by the inhabitants of Sawtry (Hunts), and the adjoining parishes of Glatton, Connington, and the Giddings, owing to the absence of telegraphic communication; whether he is aware that the inhabitants of these parishes, about 2,300 in number, have to send three miles, and in some cases four miles, to the telegraph office at Stilton; and whether, taking into consideration that the main wires run along the North Road, within a quarter of a mile of Sawtry, he will now consent to the establishment of a telegraph office in that parish?
§ MR. RAIKES
Since my hon. Friend wrote to me in July last my attention has not again been called to the question of the extension of the telegraphs to Sawtry. In answer to a question which he put to me in this House about 18 months ago, I explained that the main wires could not be made available for serving a telegraph office at Sawtry. I shall be very glad to have further inquiry made, but I fear that, unless the circumstances have altogether changed, it will only be possible to establish a telegraph office at Sawtry if the residents are prepared to enter into a guarantee. Perhaps I may take this opportunity of explaining to my hon. Friend and the House that in cases of telegraphic extension the Postmaster General has no option or alternative as to the course which he is bound by Treasury regulations to follow, and this is only one of many purely administrative matters in which his discretion is absolutely superseded by the control of the Treasury.
§ MR. FELLOWES
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will bring before the Treasury the question of the great difficulty experienced in finding in poor country parishes a sufficient guarantee; and whether he will allow the receipts from telegrams coming in to go towards the guarantee fund, in the same way as the receipts from telegrams going out are allowed?
§ MR. RAIKES
I shall be very happy to make the representation to the Treasury; but I do not know with what success it will meet.