§ * MR. CLOUGH (Yorkshire, W.R., Skipton)
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the fact that it was the recognised custom up to the end of 1905 for private-bag fees to be collected by sub-postmasters, for the fees to be charged according to regulations, for these fees to be retained by the sub-postmasters and not subject to be remitted to the head office, and that the sub-postmasters upon receiving their appointments were assured that these fees would not be interfered with or diverted, he will explain why, in December last, regulations were issued directing these fees to be paid to the head office, thus taking them out of the hands of the sub-postmasters, and say if the whole of these fees will be refunded to the sub-postmasters; and will these fees, in future, be counted as salaries or as emoluments.
§ THE POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. SIDNEY BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
Prior to the 1st of January last all private box and bag fees at sub-offices not paid on the Head Office Scale were collected by the sub-postmasters who retained the fees. It was found that, although the same scale of charges was in force as now, many sub-postmasters did not charge the proper fees, and in some cases made no charge at all. In order to ensure that the fees chargeable should be uniform at all sub-offices and thus obviate complaint from the public it was decided that, beginning with this year, the fees should be collected by the Department direct, and be repaid to the sub-postmasters who were entitled to payment, in the form of allowances, paid at the same time as the salaries are paid. They will be counted as emoluments.