§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to the fact that a registered newspaper may be sent through the post for one halfpenny, irrespective of its weight, and that in some cases registered newspapers weighing over two pounds are sent at that rate, while the postage on a periodical of the same weight which does not come within the definition of registered newspaper would be 5d.; and whether he proposes to take any steps to remedy this anomaly.
The anomaly of which the hon. Member speaks has not been allowed to escape my attention or that of my predecessors. Unfortunately the Post Office Act of 1870, which laid down the privileged postage rate of one halfpenny for registered newspapers, did not fix any limit of weight, and advantage is taken of this omission by certain publications. The remedy would be to impose a limit; but that cannot be done without legislation. I should be glad to introduce a Bill giving power to fix such a limit if I had reason to think it would be treated as non-contentious.