§ MR. BRACE (Glamorganshire, S.)
To ask the Postmaster-General if he has received communications from the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce, and other representative trade and commercial bodies, calling his attention to the inconvenience arising from the fact that the Post Office Department declines to quote inclusive rates for telephones on their system; and if he will favourably consider the 925 desirability of granting inclusive rates for telephones on the Post Office system, and give an assurance to the trading public that no increase in the telephone rates on the Post Office system is intended.
(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) I have received some communications on the subject referred to by the hon. Member. The agreement on 2nd February, 1905, relating to the purchase of the National Telephone Company's system, provides that until 1911 there shall be inter-communication between the exchanges of the Post Office and the National Telephone Company in the same exchange areas. A condition of this arrangement is that uniform rates of charge shall be adopted by the Post Office and the company for the use of the combined systems in each area. When inter-communication began last year in the Cardiff area, the company represented that, pending an agreement as to uniform rates of charge they were at a disadvantage owing to the fact that the Post Office rate for unlimited service was lower than the company's corresponding rate. My predecessor was unwilling to increase the amount of the Post Office unlimited service rate, and he therefore agreed to its suspension until a uniform system of charge could be arranged with the company. Negotiations are in progress for the settlement of the uniform charge for the use of the combined systems in the Cardiff area.