HC Deb 10 February 1899 vol 66 cc504-5
MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been directed to the differences in the rates charged for the transmission through the post of weekly, monthly, and other periodicals; upon what principle the proprietors of certain of these periodicals are permitted to transmit a weight of matter up to five pounds for a half-penny, while the proprietors of others in all respects apparently similar are restricted to a weight of two ounces only for the same payment; and whether he will take steps to abolish these differences at an early date by the extension of the halfpenny rate up to five pounds weight to all periodicals published in this country.


The answer to the first paragraph is, of course, Yes. The Post Office Act, 1870, restricts transmission through the post at the newspaper rate to periodicals published once a week, at least, and consisting "wholly or in great part of political or other news or of articles relating thereto or to other current topics," but exempts from the last of these conditions by Clause 7 newspapers which were stamped as newspapers prior to 1855. Newspapers fulfilling the conditions of the Act are transmissible at the newspaper rate of a halfpenny for each paper. Newspapers not fulfilling these conditions can only be sent at the book post rate of a halfpenny for two ounces. The Postmaster-General has no intention of proposing any measure for extending the halfpenny rate to all periodicals published in this country up to 51b. in weight. His reasons for not doing so are fully set out in the report of the Postage Rates Committee, dated 24th June, 1896, and presented to the House in January, 1897.