§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether his Department has refused the request of the people of the Channel Islands for a cable connecting Sark with Guernsey, some seven miles distant, unless they pay for it themselves; whether he is aware that six Sark fishermen were on the 25th of March last wrecked on a rock near Herm, their wives and friends believing them to have been drowned, and being unable, for want of electrical communication with Guernsey, to telegraph for a steamer to be sent in search of them; and that the men were kept for two days and nights on the rock, until a steamer happened to touch at Sark, when they were at once 521 found and rescued: and, whether he will link Sark by cable with the other Channel Islands, and so with the rest of the United Kingdom?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. ARNOLD MORLEY,) Nottingham, E.
About four years ago a request was made that a telegraph cable should be laid to the Island of Sark; but as the estimate of revenue fell far short of the estimate of expenditure, the Treasury did not see their way to sanction the extension.
§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the inhabitants of Gurnard, a populous village two miles west of Cowes, have expressed a desire for telegraphic or at least telephonic communication with the latter place, which request the Postal authorities will only grant on condition of those concerned giving a guarantee of £27 a year against loss; whether he is aware that Gurnard is full of visitors in summer, who have to forward their telegrams to Cowes; whether I he cost of maintaining a telephone between the two places would be much less than that of maintaining a telegraph with a transmitting staff; and whether he will accordingly direct that tin1 guarantee required for a telephonic service shall be correspondingly reduced, and that a telephone shall be forthwith provided?
§ MR. ARNOLD MORLEY
The hon. Member is mistaken in supposing that the cost of a telephone between Gurnard and Cowes would be less than that of a telegraph. On the contrary, as a double wire would be required, the cost of construction would be greater, while the cost of office working would remain the same. It is not in my power to afford the service without a guarantee.