HC Deb 22 May 1924 vol 173 cc2383-4
54. Mr. BECKER

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will instruct the Departments during the current year to estimate with their annual expenditure the cost of delivering their letters by the Post Office, so that the Post Office can receive this amount as revenue?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Philip Snowden)

Estimates of the cost of postal services to Departments are appended to the Estimates of all Departments and are also summarised in an appendix to the Post Office Estimate. The value of the services rendered is credited to the Post Office in the Commercial Accounts. The suggestion that Departments make actual payments is contrary to the general principles of public accounting and would not, so far as I can see, offer any advantage whatever.


Is this not really a book entry crediting the Post Office with the amount of service rendered to other Departments, and could he not use this money to reduce postage rates?


I should not have the money, because I have to provide for it in the Estimates, and the expenditure of the Departments would be increased.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the reduction in the rate of postage is being delayed by reason of the fact that the Post Office is not generally credited with the amount of work it does for other Departments of the State?


I am not aware of that.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say why the Post Office should be expected to reduce its rates to pre-War prices when private enterprise keeps them up by 75 per cent.?