HC Deb 15 March 1895 vol 31 cc1143-4

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he is aware that the rates of postage on newspapers, book post matter, and parcels sent to Australia and the Colonies generally are very much higher than the charges made by carrying companies for the conveyance and delivery of an equal weight of parcels; and whether the Post Office has any monopoly of the right to transport newspapers, bookpost matter, and parcels within the United Kingdom or to convey them to the Colonies; and, if not, whether, in view of the disparity between postage and freightage, he will allow private carrying companies to despatch newspapers, bookpost matter, and parcels, at ordinary freightage rates, by the mail trains and mail steamships employed for the conveyance of the mails to the Colonies?


For newspapers, books, and other articles sent in sufficient bulk, the freight charges are doubtless lower than postage rates, but the service rendered is not the same. Freight charges are for mere sea carriage from port to port. Postage covers not only sea carriage but also collection, land carriage by railway and otherwise both here and in the Colonies, and delivery. Moreover, for light packets of newspapers and books the mere freight charges are incomparably higher than the postage of ½d. the two ounces. The Post Office has no monoply in the carriage of newspapers, books, and parcels, either inland or to places abroad, and the public have already the right to choose between the Post Office and the carrying agencies, according as they want a complete or an incomplete service.