§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General—(1) whether, in Great Britain and Ireland, a penny or Foreign postcard is sold at its face value while a halfpenny Inland postcard costs ¾d.; (2) whether his attention has been called to the Treasury Minute, stating that the Departmental profit on the sale of the material of postcards amounts to £22,000 per annum; (3) whether the 10 centimes charged for a French postcard is its face value; (4) whether the 10 centimes is the cost of a French Foreign postcard; (5) whether 250 postcards can be sent from France to England for £1, as against 240 from England to France for the same sum; (6) whether the Treasury has recommended the Department to sell at least the thin Inland postcards at face value; and (7) whether arrangements could be made with the contractors to meet the Department in conferring this boon on the public?
§ MR. HANBURY
The hon. Member is correctly informed as to the amount charged for single penny postcards in France and their cost as compared with that of English halfpenny postcards. As regards the figures representing the profit on the material, the late Secretary to the Treasury informed the hon. Member 934 on April 29 last that they were no longer applicable. The reduction in the sale of official postcards caused by the larger use of private postcards has materially reduced the profit on the former, which was estimated at about £22,000 per annum in 1894. The sale of official thin postcards has fallen by 7,000,000 and of stout cards by 13,000,000—from 51,000,000 and 145,000,000 respectively. The answer to the hon. Member's third, fourth and fifth paragraphs is "Yes," and to the sixth paragraph "No." In regard to the charge made by the Post Office for Inland postcards in this country, I must refer him to the answer I gave on the 18th instant—namely, that the practice of charging for the material of the postcard is by no means confined to this country. In Germany 20 cards cost the equivalent of 1s. as against 11d. here. Holland makes a direct charge for the material. I may point out that if the public think that the Department makes an excessive charge for the material of the Inland postcard it is open to them to buy their cards elsewhere. I agree with my predecessor in thinking that it would not be fair to the private stationer to supply gratuitously the material of the official postcard.
§ MR. J. M. PAULTON (Durham, Bishop Auckland)
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether any difficulty would be placed in the way of an hon. Member who desired detailed information obtaining it by private communication with the Department.