§ 6.7 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a Second time. The Bill is drawn in general terms and it has reference to only one part of the country, the City of Hull. The telegraph service in the City of Hull is under the ownership of the City and not 807 of the Post Office. In the war period the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day found it necessary to place a levy on telephone users as a contribution towards the war effort. That levy ranged from 15 per cent. for ordinary users to 25 per cent. for special users. It was made clear, both by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and by the Postmaster-General, that that was the case. In recent years, however, that extra charge has been used for the upkeep of the service; it is due to the rise in costs. That being so there did not appear to be any justification for continuing the levy on the City of Hull, because the City of Hull, being responsible for its own costs, could not be expected to take a share in the costs of Great Britain as a whole.
The purpose of this Bill is to enable the City of Hull to cease paying this extra contribution that was levied during the war period. It will mean a reduction in their taxation for the City of Hull of about £25,000. The new conditions will apply immediately in that city to all the new users; and in the case of present users the reduction will apply as mid when the terms of their agreement with the Corporation cease. In the meantime in the City of Hull, the charge will continue to be levied upon these users.
§ Moved, That the Bill he now read 2a.—(Lord Shepherd.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.