HC Deb 29 May 1906 vol 158 cc281-3
MR. WEDGWOOD BENN (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether the British delegates to the Postal Congress at Rome have been successful in obtaining any reductions or improvements in the postal rates to foreign countries.


I am glad to be able to announce that, although the British delegates failed to obtain a reduction in the initial postage rate of 2½d. to foreign countries, they were successful in persuading the congress to adopt two considerable concessions to the public; the one as regards the initial weight allowed for foreign letters, and the other as regards the charges on; heavier letters. In reference to the first, point, when the new Postal Union Convention of Rome takes effect next year, the unit of weight will be doubled, so that the existing postage of 2½d. to foreign countries will prepay a letter weighing up to one ounce instead of up to only half an ounce as at present. This concession will embrace also letters sent under the Imperial penny post to any part of the British Empire and to Egypt, which letters at present must not exceed half an ounce in weight for a penny. Thus a letter (say) to France weighing one ounce, will in future cost for postage 2½d. instead of 5d.; and a similar letter to India and the Colonies will cost 1d. instead of 2d. As regards the second point, at present an additional 2½d. is charged for every additional half ounce after the first. In future the postage on foreign letters exceeding an ounce in. weight will be reduced to 1½d. for each additional ounce, after the initial rate of 2½d. on the first ounce has been paid. Thus a letter to France, weighing two ounces will be chargeable with a postage rate of 4d. (that is 2½d. plus 1½d.) instead of 10d. as at present. Similarly a two-ounce letter to India, the Colonies and. Egypt will cost only 2d. instead of 4d. A further useful postal reform, which; was adopted on the motion of the British, delegates, was the introduction of a reply coupon, a little postal order to bearer exchangeable in any country for a Union postage stamp. Further, the transit rates have been reduced and simplified. I think the British delegates are to be congratulated on the general success that has attended their efforts.

MR. ARTHUR LEE (Hampshire, Fareham)

asked if the proposals had been accepted by the United States.


I think the United States specifically agreed to them. But, in any case, the arrangement is binding on all the countries in the Postal Union.


wished to know when the new regulations would come into operation.


Next year, It has always been the custom of the Postal Union to give a year's notice in order that preparations and postal arrangements may be made accordingly.