HC Deb 27 June 1893 vol 14 cc133-4

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the Post Office Authorities, before extending the telegraph to any rural and sparsely-peopled district, insist on a guarantee against loss from the leading inhabitants of such district; whether, in calculating the amount to be paid annually under the guarantee, the Department refuses to take into account incoming telegrams, and reckons outgoing telegrams only; whether, in many cases, the telegraphic business consists almost exclusively of incoming telegrams, sent to the private residences of mercantile or other wealthy people, by which the Department profits; and whether he will give directions that both incoming and outgoing telegrams shall in future be set off against guarantees?


It is only where the revenue will not cover the expenses that a guarantee is required; and this guarantee, under the Post Office Acts of 1891 and 1892, may be given by the Rural Sanitary Authority in England or Ireland or by the District Committee or County Council in Scotland. The answer to the second part of the hon. Member's question is in the affirmative; to the third part it is in the negative. As to the fourth part, I am not prepared to give directions that guarantors should be credited with the messages sent to an office as well as those despatched from the office. If the revenue of every telegraph office were calculated on that plan, the total Telegraph Revenue of the country would be made to appear exactly twice what it really was.