HC Deb 20 February 1899 vol 66 cc1461-2

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster-General, whether, in view of the growing dissatisfaction owing to the unequal rates of postage on penny periodicals, such as "People's Friend" and "Home Words," an important class of paper mostly read by the poorer classes, compared with the favourable postage rates on journals such as the "Graphic" and the "Field," whose circulation is almost entirely confined to the classes least in need of such favoured treatment, the Government can see its way to propose a change from this difference of postage rate, to be brought about by a more correct definition of the word "newspaper" in the Post Office regulations.


The "People's Friend" and "Home Words" do not conform to the definition of a newspaper laid down by the Post Office Act, 1870, and cannot, therefore, be sent by post as newspapers. Copies which have been obtained for inspection do not exceed two ounces in weight, and remain within that weight even if a light wrapper be added. So long, therefore, as paper and wrapper are kept within the two ounce limit they can already be sent for a postage of a halfpenny by the ordinary book-post. The "Graphic" and the "Field" comply with the requirements of the Act, and pass through the post as newspapers. The Postmaster-General does not see his way to propose any change such as the honourable Member suggests.