§ 14. Mr. HALES
asked the Postmaster General whether he is aware of the inconvenience caused to English shippers and mercantile firms owing to the abolition of the week-end cables to India and the East; and if he will consider the possibility of reducing the rate of daily letter telegrams, the cost of which is now nearly double the rates previously charged before the recent advances were made?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir Kingsley Wood)
The International Telegraph Conference held at Madrid last autumn approved the application, to letter-telegram services with countries ouside Europe, of a uniform rate of one-third of the full rate, subject to a minimum charge as for 25 words. This measure was adopted as a result of representations made to the Conference by the telegraph companies of the world. Unfortunately it involves the withdrawal of the specially low rates for week-end letter-telegrams and an increase in the rates for daily letter-telegrams; but the conference decided that, under present 1171 conditions, the maintenance of these low rates could not be justified. I regret that I can see no prospect of a reduction of the new letter-telegram rates in the near future.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The rates are not double; the increase is from one-quarter to one-third of the rate. I regret the decision; the British delegation took a certain course at the International Conference, and this is the decision of the Conference.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think that the figures I have given are correct, but I will gladly accept what the hon. Member says, as he is an authority on these matters.