HC Deb 26 February 1894 vol 21 cc1041-2

I beg to ask the Postmaster General what is the present position of the negotiations with the Railway Companies for limiting the increase in the number of telegrams which the companies are entitled to send over the public telegraphs free of charge; and whether the arrangement with the Midland and the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Companies, announced by the Postmaster General on the 27th February, 1893, has now been adopted by the companies generally; and, if not, whether, in fairness to the companies which have come to terms, as well as in the interests of the public, he will take steps to ensure an early and complete settlement of the question?


Since the date of my reply to my right hon. Friend's question of last February, several important Railway Companies have entered into agreements similar to that concluded with the Midland and the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway Companies. Amongst these companies are the following:—The Great Northern; the Lancashire and Yorkshire; the Loudon and Southwestern; the London, Brighton, and South Coast; the London, Chatham, and Dover; the North British; the Hierh-land; and the Great North of Scotland. Negotiations are pending with the London and North Western, the Great Western, and other large companies; but I regret to say that these companies have not yet seen their way to accept such terms as I have felt able, in justice to the public interests, to offer. I think, with my right hon. Friend, that it would not be fair to the companies which have entered into agreements on the subject that a settlement with the other companies should be indefinitely postponed. But I trust that a spirit of accommodation will prevail on the part of these companies, and that exceptional measures for the protection of the Public Revenue will not become necessary.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give a Return of the names of the companies standing out, as well as the figures showing the great increase in the number of free messages?


If my right hon. Friend will speak to mo on the subject I will consider the suggestion.

ME. J. E.ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

Is the right hon. Gentleman taking slops to put pressure on the companies?


I have no power except by negotiation, and I have done my best in that direction.