HC Deb 19 March 1929 vol 226 cc1592-3
28. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that the American telegraph companies make no additional charge for the address on a telegram, with the result that the address is invariably given in full and much time, labour, and loss is avoided owing to the absence of incorrectly addressed telegrams; and whether he will consider adopting the same system here in order to further popularise the Post Office telegraph service?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir William Mitchell-Thomson)

Reversion to the system of free addresses, which was abolished in this country in 1885, might obviate trouble in certain cases, but would entail the signalling of additional words in a far larger number and would involve a considerable sacrifice of revenue. Having regard to the heavy loss on the telegraph service, I could not contemplate it except in conjunction with a substantial increase in the tariff rate for the text, and as I have already stated it has been decided that rates shall not be increased to the public.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say about how much the loss would be?


It is impossible to make anything like an accurate estimate, but in 1871 it was found that the number of words in the addresses had grown to as much as 12.


Is it not a fact that the American telegraph service is run by private companies and that they make no loss?


Is it not also the case that their charges are higher?