HC Deb 28 January 1897 vol 45 cc666-7
COLONEL MILWARD (Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been directed to the clause in the new Agreement as to the Parcel Post between this country and Switzerland, by which it is declared that in fixing the rate of postage for parcels 2 francs 35 cents is to be considered the equivalent of 2s., and 2 francs 85 cents the equivalent of 2s. 5d., whereas, by the current rate of exchange, the sums should be 1s. 10½d. and 2s. 3d. respectively; and, will he explain what is the reason for this additional charge upon the British as compared with the Swiss public for precisely the same service?


Owing to the difference both in the currency and in the weights of this country and Switzerland, it is not practicable to fix precisely the same charge for the same service in both directions. For example, the postage of 2s. referred to by the hon. Member covers the conveyance to Switzerland of a parcel weighing 7 lb.; whereas the highest weight transmissible from Switzerland to this country for the corresponding sum of 2 francs 35 cents is 3 kilogrammes, or only 6 lb. 9 oz., and for a 7 lb. parcel 2 francs 85 cents would have to be paid. In the case of parcels sent at the lowest postage in the scale, the advantage to the English sender is considerable; for, the postage being practically identical in both countries, a weight of 13 oz. more can be sent for the same money from England to Switzer land than is transmissible in the opposite direction. The fact is that parcels of under 7 lb. weight can be sent a little more cheaply from England to Switzerland than from Switzerland to England, while with parcels of over 7 lb. the opposite is true.