HC Deb 28 February 1896 vol 37 cc1371-2

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he has observed that, under the regulations requiring a periodical, in order to pass at the reduced halfpenny rate, to appear at intervals not exceeding seven days, and to contain a given proportion of news and articles relating thereto, many of the reviews, magazines, and other valuable monthly publications, and many periodicals containing numerous advertisements, are excluded from the benefit of that rate; whether he is aware that a large number of letters, postal orders, and parcels are dispatched in answer to advertisements, to the profit of the Department; and that many periodicals are filled out with "padding," in the shape of news and articles, in order to establish a claim to the benefits of registration as a newspaper; and whether he will introduce or support a Bill permitting all bona fide periodicals under a fixed weight to pass at the halfpenny rate?


Publications must be published at intervals of not more than seven days, and must consist wholly or in great part of news or of articles relating thereto, in order to be admitted to the benefit of the newspaper rate. The Postmaster General is not aware to what extent advertisements result in increased business to the Department; nor can he give an opinion as to how much of what passes as news is mere "padding," with a view to satisfying the requirements of the Act. The loss already incurred in the transmission of newspapers is so considerable that the Postmaster General would hesitate to increase it by sanctioning any extension of the privilege.