HC Deb 24 February 1899 vol 67 cc577-8

"18. £0(5,5000, Supplementary Post Office."


With regard to the sums required for the Post Office, I should like to ask whether the increased expenditure is in any way attributable to the new arrangement regarding extra Sunday attendances and deliveries in the rural districts. I see you are asking for an extra sum of about £50,000. The last Committee of this House which sat on this question eight or ten years ago, instead of suggesting that there should be increased facilities for Sunday deliveries, recommended the reverse. This, of course, is not the proper time to discuss this subject, but I take it that this demand is due to the increasing area of Sunday deliveries. If in a city like this, where the business is more important than in any other part of the world, we can do without Sunday deliveries, I certainly do not think there can be any need to extend them in the country. I feel strongly on this matter, and, therefore, I ask if this is the explanation of the Vote.


In the absence of the Secretary to the Treasury, I think I can explain this. It is part of an arrangement which has been made during the last two years for increasing the facilities given to the public, in the way of delivery of letters, and as more has been done in the past year in this direction than was anticipated it has become necessary to ask for this sum. Of course, if additional deliveries are required more must be paid for them. Sunday work has occasionally to be done in the Post Office, and as long as the Sunday delivery of letters is legal it must be paid for. At present the Post Office do not think it would be in the interest of the public to abolish them altogether.


I find no fault with the amount expended on rural postal deliveries; the county which I represent has benefited very considerably by it; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not told us how much of this money has been voted for Sunday attendances. I should be sorry to see any increase in Sunday labour, and I should like to know what is the additional expenditure for extra Sunday labour.

Vote agreed to.

"19. £5,000, Supplemental Post Office Telegraphs."


There seems to have been an extra sum of £1,000 in the item for marriage gratuities. In view of the fact that the Registrar-General's returns show that last year the marriage rate declined, I should like to inquire how it is this increase has been brought about.


I can only explain it by suggesting that the young ladies in the telegraph service are becoming more attractive.


May I ask the First Lord of the Treasury what will be the business on Monday?


I propose to continue the Civil Service Supplementary Estimates on Monday. If, as I hope, they are finished before the end of our proceedings, we shall then take the Colonial Loan Fund Bill, assuming, of course, that we get the report to-night. In the next place, we shall take the Inebriates Bill, which will be introduced by my right honourable Friend the Home Secretary. Then the Improvement of the Land Bill, the Universities of Scotland Bill, and the Licensing Exemption Bill. On Thursday we shall get the Speaker out of the Chair on the Army Estimates.

Vote agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.