§ MR. H. C. F. LUTTRELL (Devon, Tavistock)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that by the Post Office Official Circular issued on 19th January 1897, under 1429 which the charges for ordinary inland money orders for sums not exceeding £1 have been raised from 2d. to 3d., not only causes inconvenience but is open to evasion by the use of postal orders and stamps at a less cost than 3d.; and, whether, if this be the case, he will take steps to secure the rate of commission to what it had been previous to the issue of the Official Circular of 19th January 1897?
§ MR. HANBURY
The Postmaster-General is obliged to the hon. Member for giving him this opportunity of explaining the reasons for the alterations in the money order rates prescribed by the new regulations laid upon the Table of the House on the 27th ult. It was found after careful inquiry that the cost to the State of issuing any money order was not less than 3d., and this conclusion, arrived at after independent inquiry, was in accord with the conclusions of a committee of officials and bankers which sat under the presidency of Mr. George Moore, a well known merchant, in 1876, and whose report was presented to Parliament at the time. It followed, therefore, as the service had not been conducted at a loss, the remitters of large sums must have been taxed for the assistance of the remitters of small sums. This appeared to the Postmaster-General to be both unjust and unnecessary because Parliament had provided a cheap and convenient means of remitting small sums by postal orders. He cannot, however, regard the use of a postal order as in any sense an evasion of the Money Order Regulations.
§ MR. HANBURY
said that might be so, but it did not matter to the Post Office. The same difficulty arose under the lower scale, it was quite possible to pay less for a postal order than for a money order.