asked the Postmaster-General why the same charge is made for telegrams which are telephoned to the addressee as is made for those delivered by special messenger at greater cost to his Department.
Because a reduction for telephone delivery could not be justified in face of the heavy loss per telegram. This loss far exceeds the average saving from such delivery, as compared with delivery by hand.
Is not my hon. Friend's reply really too defeatist? Is it not time that the Post Office went out and tried to get some more revenue? Would it not be a fair experiment to see whether we cannot revive the decaying telegraph service by trying to make the rate cheaper for those who do not ask the Post Office to provide a special messenger for delivery? That surely must be the cause of the bulk of the cost.
We are not defeatists in any way in this matter. The fact is that in many cases telegrams delivered by telephone cost as much as, and sometimes more than, telegrams delivered by messenger, and we have to be free to choose which is the more economical way of delivering a telegram in order to give the most efficient service.
Will the hon. hon. Gentleman make a further statement if a Question is put down upon this subject? It seems almost unbelievable that a telegram telephoned to a person's address is dearer than or even the same price as one delivered by hand, particularly in view of the facts given by the right hon. Gentleman concerning the loss involved in the delivery of telegrams by hand; indeed, he makes that the chief reason for the loss in the telegraph service.
I shall always be pleased to answer any Questions which the hon. Member or any other hon. Member cares to put down, on this or any other subject. I gave my Answer after a very careful analysis of the cost of delivering telegrams by various means.