HC Deb 04 July 1895 vol 35 cc204-5

, in rising to move— That the contract dated the 24th day of May 1895, entered into with the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company for the performance of the West India mail service be approved, said, he was sorry that, owing to delay at the printers, the papers containing this and the Holyhead and Kingstown contract and the Treasury Minutes upon them had not been circulated, as he hoped they would have been that morning. All the Standing Orders required was that the contracts and minutes should be laid on the Table, and that had been done, but he confessed that under ordinary circumstances he would have been inclined to propose to postpone the voting of the contracts. At present time pressed, and therefore he would give a somewhat full explanation of the terms of the contracts in the hope that that would satisfy the House. The first contract was with the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, and was signed on the 24th of May last. It covered the period from July 1, 1895, to June 30, 1900. The speed on the main line was to be 13 knots and the subsidy £80,000 a year. Under the former contract, which expired on June 30 last, the speed was the same, but the subsidy was £5,000 a year more. Tenders were called for in March last, but the only offers received were from the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Details of their tenders were given in the minute. After full consideration and communication with the Colonies concerned it was decided to accept the tender now embodied in the contract. The colonies contribute a certain share of the subsidy—in the present year £20,000—but the Treasury did not yet know exactly what the future contribution would be, as it depended partly on the amount of mail matter. He concluded by moving the Motion which stood in his name.

Motion agreed to.