HC Deb 23 February 1897 vol 46 cc966-7
MR. JAMES RANKIN (Herefordshire, Leominster)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, with regard to the fact that the cost of Post Office money orders under £3 has recently been raised from 2d. to 3d., whether he will consult the Postmaster General with a view to obtaining an abatement of the rate for members of friendly societies who largely transmit their payments, mostly under £1, by means of Post Office money orders?

MR. E. STRACHEY (Somerset, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware of the loss inflicted on members of friendly societies by the increase of the commission on money orders under 20s. from 2d. to 3d.; and whether the charge cannot be reduced to what it was before the increase?


So far as I have been able to ascertain it is not the fact that the affiliated societies, who form a large majority of the friendly societies, make any large use of money orders for the transmission of their remittances. It is, however, true that the Hearts of Oak Society, which is organised on a different basis from the other societies, and makes all its remittances from its head office in London, has represented that it has suffered serious inconvenience from the change. I find, however, that the society is in the habit of directing its members to remit small sums of 2s. 6d. and 1s., which could be remitted to them for 1d. and ½d. by postal orders, per money orders made payable at one particular sub-office in London; and I find that they have also given instructions to their members that money orders and postal orders should not be crossed. It is difficult to understand why the society thus deliberately imposes a charge of 2d. or 3d. on its members for the transmission of small sums of this amount, which could be forwarded with absolute security by a crossed postal order. If the case of the society stood alone the Postmaster General would not feel justified in withdrawing the recent alterations in the Money Order Regulations. It is found, however, that very poor persons who have been in the habit of transmitting portions of their wages or other sums to their families complain that they have suffered from the recent changes, and the Postmaster General is therefore prepared to consider whether it is possible, by an alteration in the machinery for the transmission of the smaller orders, so to reduce the cost as to enable him to reduce the commission on a £1 order to 2d. ["Hear, hear!"] Some little time may elapse before it may be possible to make this change, which may require the sanction of the Legislature before it can be effected.

MR. J. McLEOD (Sutherland)

asked whether any representations had been received from banking firms on the subject of these orders?


said he was not aware that there had been any such representations.