§ LORD PENTLAND
My Lords, on behalf of the Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, who cannot be here, I desire to ask His Majesty's Government whether an assurance can be given that there is at present no intention of raising the postage rate between the United Kingdom and foreign countries, notwithstanding the sanction recorded by the recent Congress of the International Postal Union for the 880 raising of the rate to double the present charge.
§ LORD STANMORE
My Lords, under the decisions of the Postal Union Congress the rate of postage on a foreign letter not exceeding one ounce in weight may be raised to the equivalent of 50 centimes (gold), which is considerably more than double the present rate of 2½d. It is not intended to raise the rate to the full extent allowed by the Union. In present conditions, however, the existing scale of rates does not cover the cost of the services performed by the Post Office in connection with foreign correspondence and of the payments which it has to make to other Post Offices in respect of the handling of mails in transit, and some increase has therefore become necessary. It has not yet been found possible to determine what is the lowest scale of rates which can be regarded as remunerative, but the Postmaster-General hopes shortly to be in a position to put proposals before the Treasury, and if the concurrence of the Treasury is obtained he proposes to introduce the revised rates as from February 1 next.