§ MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
To ask the Postmaster-General, in view of the continuous deficit in our telegraphic system, if his attention has been called to the introduction of penny post-telegrams, i.e., telegrams sent over the wires to fall into the next delivery by postmen on reaching their destination at, say, ten words for 1d. and ½d. for each additional word; and whether, seeing that such a scheme would have large commercial possibilities and would be a boon to the public and the trader he is prepared to favourably consider the matter.
(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) I am not prepared to adopt the suggestion to which the hon. Member refers. The large loss of revenue by reduction of the initial charge for a telegram from 6d. to 1d. would be only in a very slight degree recovered by any saving that might be possible in the boy messenger staff in towns. In the case of telegrams for country districts, where the cost of special delivery is somewhat more appreciable, the scheme would often be largely inoperative because the postmen start before the telegraph offices are open in the morning. The suggestion is probably based on erroneous statements regarding a system of "letter telegrams" recently introduced experimentally in 1543 France. The minimum charge for these letter telegrams is 5d. and the service is subject to considerable limitations and restrictions.