§ MR. J. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that small boxes of flowers are sent from the south of France to any part of England, Ireland, or Scotland, a distance exceeding 1,000 miles, for a postal charge of less than 2½d.; what proportion, if any, of the 2½d. is paid to the English Government; and, whether he will give equal facilities to our own people for the conveyance of flowers from favoured climates in England and Ireland to London, as are enjoyed by the French peasantry?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURY,) Preston
It is the case that in France, where there is a large industry in cut flowers, the Post Office treats small boxes of flowers, though sent by private persons, as samples of merchandise, and sends them to England and other countries of the Postal Union at the rate applicable to samples. In this country consignments of flowers are not regarded as samples, whether sent by traders or private persons; but, as the French Post Office found great difficulty in discriminating between flowers sent as samples by florists and flowers of trifling value sent by private individuals to their friends, it was decided some years ago to deliver, and not to return to France, all packets of flowers sent hither from that country by the sample post. The whole of the postage on samples sent from France to England is retained by the French Post Office, as that on samples sent in the opposite direction is by the British Post Office. In the inland postal service of this country consignments of cut flowers, whether sent by traders or private persons, could not be sent by sample post, although bona fide trade samples of flowers might, of course, be sent by a dealer under the regulations of that post, which prescribe, inter alia, that the trader's name must be printed on each packet. The Postmaster-General is not aware of any demand for further 504 facilities than the parcel and letter posts afford for sending flowers from place to place in this country, where the difference between the sample postage, parcel postage, and letter postage, payable on a packet not weighing more than (say) 8 oz. is trifling compared with the difference between the international rates.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
asked whether there was not reason to suppose that there might be a considerable trade with the Scilly Islands, where whole acres of flowers were grown?
§ MR. HANBURY
I should certainly have thought there was, and I cannot understand this preference shown to the foreign trade.