§ MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, if he, or the Post Office, or any other Government Department, has made any estimate of the probable return which the State will obtain on the expenditure of the two millions of money in competition with the National Telephone Company, and of its effect on the royalties of £114,000 a year now receivable from the company; whether, for comparison therewith, any estimate has been made of the probable return which would be obtained at once if the company were extinguished, or converted into a State Department, and its capital converted into a stock with a limited interest of 3 per cent.; if so, will he lay a copy of 1281 such estimate before this House; and, if no such estimates have been made, will he cause them to be prepared; and, will he also lay a copy of the proposed new arrangements with the Telephone Company before the House, and not merely to the Members of the Standing Committee.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. HANBURY,) Preston
The two millions are intended partly for the provinces and partly for London. So far as the provinces are concerned the expenditure will be chiefly in places where this company is not now working, or where there is already competition between it and the Post Office. No question of royalty arises in such cases. In London, where there will be competition with the National Telephone Company, even if the rates of the Company, and therefore the royalty, are reduced, this reduction will, it is anticipated, be more than balanced by the increased number of subscribers. The answer to the second paragraph is in the negative. The proposed new arrangements have already been laid before the House in the usual printed notices.