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Bill 219 Committee

Volume 203: debated on Monday 1 August 1870

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Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 8 (Postage on newspapers, book and pattern or sample packets and cards).

Amendment moved, in Clause 8, page 3, line 10, after "newspapers," to insert the words "and other registered periodical publications."

Line 13, leave out all after "postage," to end of Clause, and insert,—

That is to say:—From and after the thirtieth day of September, one thousand eight hundred and seventy:—

(1.) Registered newspapers, whether singly or in packets of two or more, at a maximum rate for each newspaper with its supplements ofone halfpenny
(2.) Packets of printed matter, consisting wholly or partly of books, newspapers, periodicals, or other printed papers and pattern or sample packets, at the rate for each packet of—
If it does not exceed 2 ounces in weightone halfpenny
If it exceeds 2 ounces in weight for the first 2 ounces, and for every additional 2 ounces or fractional part of 2 ouncesone halfpenny
(3.) Post cards, for eachone halfpenny
And from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one:
(4.) Registered newspapers and other registered periodical publications in packets, consisting of one or more, at the rate for each packet of—
If it does not exceed with supplements and cover 4 ounces in weightone halfpenny
If it does exceed 4 ounces in weight for the first 4 ounces, and for every additional 4 ounces or fractional part of 4 ouncesone halfpenny
Provided that the rates to come into operation from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, shall not supersede or affect the right of any one to send newspapers by the post according to rate (No. 1.)—(Mr. Watkin Williams.)

said, he did not wish to hold out a threat; but he would say that opposition to the Bill at this period of the Session was extremely critical, and anything in the shape of delay might amount to postponing the measure certainly for one Session, and it was impossible to say how much longer. The objection to the proposal of his hon. Friend was this—that when the Government had eliminated from the consideration of the subject the element of weight as regarded the heavier newspapers, he sought to reintroduce it as against the Post Office in favour of the light newspapers. His hon. Friend, in effect, said—"You may carry The Times or any of the heavier newspapers for a halfpenny because they are newspapers; but you ought to carry several numbers of The Echo up to four ounces not because they are newspapers, but because they are printed matter." That was a proposition which he could not accept. The proposal of the Government carried out even more than was asked for last year; and he did not think they could fairly be asked to adopt his hon. Friend's proposal. The Government did not see their way to make any further concession. If they had proposed an uniform rate per ounce on all newspapers it would have been an unfair handicapping of the heavy newspapers against the light ones; and it would have been encouraging the worst class of newspapers or those giving the smallest amount of information. Lord Derby's Administration, if time had allowed, had intended to make an arrangement by which papers like The Times would be placed on the same footing as the lightest newspapers. The book-post rates were unaffected by the Bill.

said, he hoped the Amendment would not be pressed. The Bill carried out the pledge given by the Government that every newspaper, whatever its weight, should be convoyed for a halfpenny. After much consideration, he had determined to stand by the principle that a newspaper, whatever its weight, should be carried for a halfpenny. They should accept the Bill as far as it went, and reserve the question as to further concessions to some future occasion.

said, he thought the definition of a post-card should extend to an open sheet of paper.

said, that he believed a book-post parcel containing newspapers might, like other book parcels, be delayed in the Post Office for 24 hours.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

said, the Bill gave greater advantages to the large than to the small papers. He proposed as an Amendment in Clause 8, page 3, line 29, at end, add—

"Provided also, That registered newspapers with or without supplements or supplements sent into the Post Office in bulk, addressed either singly or in packets of two or more newspapers, direct from the publishing office of the newspaper, and not otherwise, shall be weighed in gross and charged at a rate not exceeding one halfpenny for every four ounces of the gross weight of such newspapers, supplements, and covers."

said, he could not accept the Amendment. He maintained that the Bill was a much greater boon to the small than to the large newspaper. He believed that such a paper as The Times cared very little for the amount of postage imposed on each copy of its publication.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 9 to 16, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 17 (Despatch and delivery of book packets, &c).

Amendment proposed, in line 18, to leave out the word "newspaper."—( Sir John Gray.)

said, he would suggest that the Amendment should be deferred till the bringing up of the Report.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.