International Air Mail (Rate)

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

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Mr. Charles Ian Orr-Ewing:

asked the Postmaster-General what percentage of the rate of six gold francs per tonne/kilometre, as agreed between the Universal Postal Union and the International Air Transport Association, he pays to British Overseas Airways Corporation for the carriage of air mail on long haul services.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

There is no agreement between the Universal Postal Union and the International Air Transport Association covering conveyance rates paid by postal administrations to their national air-operators. I am writing to the hon. Member to explain the. position more fully.

Mr. Orr-Ewing:

Would the right hon. Gentleman look at the B.O.A.C. report, which says, in paragraph 99, that if proper rates had been paid, their total revenue would have increased by £3 million? Is this statement' incorrect, or is the Postmaster-General using his unique position to under-cut the rate which he had agreed in international conference?

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

No, Sir. We never agreed the rate in international conference. These are commercial agreements, freely negotiated, and I am quite satisfied that what I have told the House is correct.

Air Commodore Harvey:

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what the rate is per ton mile?

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

I have not the figure before me. Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will put a Question on the Order Paper?

Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Reading South

Will my right hon. Friend now consider making an increase, however slight, in this rate, to help B.O.A.C. in their attempt to reduce their deficit?

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

I am prepared to pay a proper rate to B.O.A.C. and no more.