§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the recent Return relating to the Post Office telegraph service, showing that this service has been worked at a loss ever since 1872, that that loss has rapidly increased in the past few years, and now amounts to over £1,000,000 per annum; i and whether he will consider the desirability of appointing a Select Committee to consider by what means, if any, the taxpayer can be relieved of this burden.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
I am familiar with the Return to which my hon. friend refers, and I am aware that the annual expenditure in respect of telegraphs largely exceeds the annual receipts. The account, however, includes expenditure upon extension of the system and other capital charges (amounting, as shown by Appendix R to the Postmaster-Generals Report [Cd. 3114], in 1904–5 to over £758,000), as well as the cost of earning current revenue. I do not think that any advantage would result from the appointment of a Select Committee.