Press Telegrams.

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office. – in the House of Commons on 21st September 1931.

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Photo of Mr John Bowen Mr John Bowen , Crewe

21.

asked the Postmaster-General what has been the revenue from Press telegrams during each of the past 10 years; the estimated annual loss to the Post Office; the number of words of Press messages transmitted each year; and the proportion paid for at day and night rates, respectively, in each of these years?

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

As the answer involves a table of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr John Bowen Mr John Bowen , Crewe

Having regard to the continued attack upon the telegraphs and the losses sustained in working the telegraph system, is it proposed, in view of the economies demanded, to review the question of the Press subsidy?

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

This is a matter of concern to my right hon. Friend, but the hon. Member will realise that it is hardly a question which can be dealt with within the limits of a supplementary answer.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

Will the hon. Gentleman take into special consideration the practical subsidy which is given to betting telegrams?

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

I will call the attention of my right hon. Friend to that question.

Photo of Mr Robert Taylor Mr Robert Taylor , Lincoln

What is the estimated annual cost?

Following is the answer:

The following Statement gives the required information, so far as it is available, for the ten years ended 31st March, 1931.
Year.Revenue.Estimated Deficit.Estimated Number of Words Transmitted.
££
1921–22*134,000506,000*83,360,000
1922–23110,000381,00077,540,000
1923–2491,000264,00073,070,000
1924–2584,000230,00068,410,000
1925–2684,000215,00069,030,000
1926–2782,000213,00065,880,000
1927–2888,000214,00071,00,000
1928–2989,000195,00075,430,000
1929–3094,000207,00074,240,000
1930–3189,00071,850,000
* The figures for 1921–22 include telegrams originating in Southern Ireland. The figures for later years exclude such telegrams.
† The deficit in 1930–31 cannot yet be stated.

The estimated deficit is arrived at after charging against press telegrams their full proportionate share of the general expenses of the telegraph service. The deficit does not therefore represent, or purport to represent, the cost which would be saved by eliminating press telegrams; this is not readily ascertainable but would amount to a much lower figure.

Records of the proportion of traffic paid for at day and night rates respectively are not available hut an investigation made in 1926 indicated that the proportion then was:—Day rate 70 per cent., Night rate 30 per cent.