HC Deb 22 July 1897 vol 51 cc708-9

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, under what Act of Parliament and by what authority the Postmaster General, on entering into a contract with a rural district to supply a telegraph office in return for a money payment from the locality is entitled to alter the contract to his own advantage by substituting a telephone for the telegraph?


In contracts of the kind referred to by the hon. Member there is no provision as to the particular form of instrument to he used. The guarantee for a telegraph extension is based on the most suitable method of serving the office, and if a telephone is used it is because it offers advantages over other forms of telegraph apparatus, such for instance as the lower cost of apparatus and the greater facility with which it can be worked by any sub-postmaster. The working expenses being reduced the cost to the guarantors is also reduced. The hon. Member is no doubt aware that it has been judicially decided that a telephone is a telegraph.