Mr. ALFRED T. DAVIES
asked the Postmaster-General whether it is proposed to reduce postal rates in the coming financial year; and whether such change will take place as from 1st April or whether this matter has yet reached the stage of discussion and consideration?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
The question of a reduction of postage rates in the coming financial year is under consideration by the Government, and I am not yet in a 829W position to make any statement on the subject.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Postmaster-General whether he can now hold out any likelihood of the postal, telegraphic, and telephone charges being reduced; if he is aware that the present charges greatly handicap the revival of trade; what is the anticipated surplus in the Post Office accounts during the present financial year; and whether reductions in the salaries paid in the Post Office on the sliding scale are expected to still further increase such surplus?
§ Mr. INSKIP
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the grave effect upon employment in the printing trade of the increased postal charges and of the urgent necessity of a statement of policy as to the reduction of the charges in order that the trade may be in a position to make contracts and to recover as much as possible of the business which has gone to foreign printers?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
It is estimated that the Post Office commercial accounts for the current year will show a deficit of about £2,000,000, which is mainly due to the high costs prevailing in the early months of the year combined with trade depression, and the fact that the increased charges were not in operation for the full year. A further substantial reduction of the war bonus will take effect on the 1st March, and for next year a surplus of over £8,000,000 is anticipated. The question of a reduction of postal charges is under the consideration of the Government.