HC Deb 06 July 1896 vol 42 cc787-8
*MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that the terminal charges levied under the agreement of the Government with the National Telephone Company operate as an additional charge on messages between Liverpool and the neighbouring towns, amounting to 50 per cent., or even 100 per cent., above the cost of the message; whether, having regard to the great amount of business done, he is willing to take steps to get the terminal charges materially modified, if they can not be removed altogether; and whether he is aware that such charges were not levied prior to the said agreement, and are, in fact, only now levied when a Post Office subscriber speaks to a National Telephone subscriber, and vice versâ, and in no other cases, thus forming a new and special charge on a particular class of telephone messages?


The terminal charges to which the hon. Member refers do operate in the manner stated in the Question. They apply, however, only to comparatively few of the messages. The charges are fixed by the agreement between the Postmaster General and the National Telephone Company, which was laid before Parliament, and there is no power to modify or abolish them without the consent of the company. It is the fact that such charges were not levied prior to the agreement coming into force, and that they are now only levied in the cases referred to by the hon. Member. They were, however, fixed with a view to a condition of things which did not previously prevail.