§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he can state the amount of revenue annually derived by the Post Office from the guarantees against loss exacted from the largest taxpayers in 1485 an outlying country district, before a telegraph wire is laid to such district; and whether, in view of the fact that telegraphic communication with the nearest markets is necessary to enable British agriculturists to struggle against Foreign competition, he will aim at placing every person in the Kingdom, whether near to or distant from a centre of population, as far as possible on an equality in respect of postal and telegraphic facilities and charges?
§ MR. HANBURY
The amount paid to the Post Office last year in respect of guaranteed Telegraph Offices was £6,390, this amount representing the difference between the cost of such offices and the revenue derived from them. The cost which is thus repaid to the Post Office bears of course a very small proportion to the cost which would be thrown upon it if guarantees were abolished, and it were consequently bound to extend the telegraph to every place which asked for it. The Postmaster General is anxious to do all in his power to extend postal and telegraphic facilities to rural districts, and he regrets that the number of cases in which guarantees have to be demanded is so great. Guarantees may now be given either by the Rural District or Parish Council.