§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, whether, with reference to his statement of 14th February that the question of the reduction of the existing charge for telegrams between England and France was under consideration, representations have been received from the British Chamber of Commerce in Paris; whether he can now state what reduction is contemplated and from what date it will take effect; and, whether the French authorities have expressed a willingness to accept as a basis an ultimate 1d. rate, on which each Government should take the amount of its inland rate, no charge being made for the Channel cable: but that, in order to cover the cost of laying any new cable required, the rate should until such cost had been covered be 1½d. per word, and afterwards 1d. or 10 centimes per word, for all telegrams between England and France?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURY,) Preston
Representations have been received from the British Chamber of Commerce in Paris, but, having regard to the loss of revenue which would be incurred by the reduction of rates, Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to assent to the proposal. No recent representations have been received from the French authorities on the subject of a reduction. I may add that the increase in the number of messages since the rates were last reduced in 1889 does not give us reason to expect that a further reduction would stimulate traffic to such an extent as to recoup the loss of revenue involved.