§ LORD A. CHURCHILL
said, he rose to ask the Secretary to the Treasury what is the annual subsidy granted to the Egyptian Government for the transit of the monthly mail to and from Australia; and what is the anticipated increase to the Post-office revenue consequent upon the additional penny charged upon all newspapers sent by way of Southampton and Suez to the Australian colonies; and also, whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government, in deference to the expressed wish of the Australian colonies, to relax the recent impost of an additional penny upon news-papers?
§ MR. LAING
said, that the amount paid to the Egyptian Government for the transit of the postal service across Egypt, was £12,000 a year, but that included the charge for the Indian as well as the Australian mails. It was impossible to distinguish the exact amount paid for the Australian service alone. It was difficult also to give any precise estimate of the revenue which might be received from Australian newspapers; but as nearly as he could get at it, the additional penny on newspapers to Australia might be roughly taken as likely to contribute £5,000 a year. With regard to the latter part of the question, the determination to impose the additional penny was taken by the late Government, and it was not the intention of the present Government to propose any alteration. On the contrary, seeing that this country paid £70,000 a year for the conveyance of the Australian mails, and that newspapers were conveyed by the same vessels 12,000 miles across the ocean, including the delivery, for one penny, he thought the additional penny to meet the charge imposed by the Egyptian Government was by no means extravagant.