§ MR. W. L. JACKSON (Leeds, N.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether his attention has been directed to a letter in The Times of 19th March, signed by A. G. Jeans, Chairman of the Press Association, in which Mr. Jeans challenges the accuracy of the estimate of loss on Press telegraphic messages made by the Postmaster General at the meeting of the Associated Chambers of Commerce; and, whether he intends to take any steps so as to have the matter investigated by a competent committee or otherwise?
§ MR. ARNOLD MORLEY
I have read the letter in The Times to which the hon. Member refers, and I have also seen other communications in the public Press on the same subject. I have already, in this House, in reply to questions put to me by the hon. Member for Cardiff and other Members, explained that it was impossible to separate the cost of dealing with Press telegrams from that of the rest of the Service; but I added that the best estimate that could be formed by the officials of the Post Office pointed to the annual loss on Press telegrams being, at least, £300,000 a year; and, probably, a still larger sum. I see no reason whatever to depart from this estimate, and I should be quite willing 920 to arrange for an impartial investigation, such as is suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, if I were to receive satisfactory assurances that the Press would abide by the result of an inquiry, and would undertake not to oppose the passage of the necessary legislation for a corresponding revision in the charges, if it should be shown that they are insufficient to provide for the cost of the Service.