HC Deb 09 November 1955 vol 545 cc1826-7
14. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Postmaster-General if, in view of the injurious effect on voluntary, non-profit-making associations of the proposed increases in postal and telephone charges, he will consider exempting them from these extra charges.

Dr. Hill

No, Sir. With every sympathy for good causes, I cannot exempt them from paying for the services they use.

Mr. Allaun

If concessions are made to newspapers, why should they not be made to voluntary organisations? Does the Minister appreciate that one of the finest features of British life is the number and variety of its voluntary organisations? Does he further appreciate that their main difficulty is to find the "brass," and that these extra charges will finish many of them off? The trade union journals, in particular, will suffer.

Dr. Hill

I do not dissent from what the hon. Gentleman has said upon the subject of voluntary organisations and causes, but it would be a task of immense practical difficulty—even if it were desirable—to separate certain bodies for lower and different rates of postage.

15. Mr. Hyde

asked the Postmaster-General if he will exempt fortnightly and monthly publications from the proposed increased charges in respect of printed papers transmitted by inland postal service.

Dr. Hill

No, Sir.

Mr. Hyde

Is my right hon. Friend aware that publications which are not eligible for registration as newspapers are in many cases trade journals, and that the increased charge imposes an unfair burden on industry by a tax on knowledge which is vital to our export trade? Does he not agree that there is no justification for discriminating between weekly publications and monthly publications?

Dr. Hill

The so-called discrimination is, of course, based on the long-standing statutory definition of "newspaper." I would point out to my hon. Friend that whereas, compared with before the war, the charge for printed papers up to two ounces has increased by 200 per cent., the increase in the case of printed matter over two ounces will be 150 per cent.