§ Mr. ARMITAGE
asked the Postmaster-General what the estimated loss to the revenue would be in the first year and in subsequent years if penny postage were established between this country and France, Germany, and all other countries, respectively?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The immediate loss to the revenue is estimated approximately as follows:—
I am unable to furnish estimates as to the future. The stimulus given to increase of correspondence by reduction in postage rates would operate to diminish the initial reduction in gross postal receipts. The cost of conveyance of correspondence to different countries abroad varies, of course, with the distance and facilities of communication. Even in the case of France, the most accessible of Continental countries, it is estimated that the loss of revenue resulting from penny postage could not be made good without an increase to fully fivefold in the correspondence. The margin of profit on each new letter after handling it and its reply for a charge of one penny would be very small. In the case of Germany a still greater increase would be necessary, while a general postage charge of 1d. per ounce on letters for all places abroad could leave no margin of profit; and it follows that no increase of traffic could, under existing conditions, reduce the initial sacrifice of revenue.
(a) on letters for France £107,000 (b) on letters for Germany £101,000 (c) on letters for all other countries £232,000