§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether, although the telegraphic rate in Great Britain, and between Great Britain and Ireland, is id. per word, and in France rather less than ½d. per word, it is intended that the Anglo-French rates shall be lowered from 2½d. per word to 2d. only, being four times the rate at which a profit might be made; if so, what opportunity he proposes to give the House of discussing these rates, and the "Declaration between the Governments of Great Britain and France respecting telegraphic correspondence exchanged between the two Countries?"
§ MR. RAIKES
In reply to the hon. Member, I have to state that the charge per word for telegrams to France has been reduced by 20 per cent, from 2½d. to 2d. I am not prepared to admit that this is four times the rate at which a profit can be made. On the contrary, I am advised that in the case of many messages it will barely cover the cost of transmission. An opportunity was afforded to discuss the arrangements connected with the acquisition of the property of the Submarine Telegraph Company when the additional Estimate was passed by the House on the 28th ult., and the House has been in possession of full information as to the rates to be charged for telegrams to France as well as to Germany, Holland, and Belgium since the 4th ult., when I answered a question that was put to me on the subject by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir R. Fowler). A further oppertunity for discussion will be afforded when the Estimate for the sum required for the purchase of the Submarine Company's property is presented.