asked the Assistant Postmaster-General to what extent the recent rise in the Post Office salaries and wages bill is responsible for the increase in postal and telegraphic charges.
The estimated cost in a full year of increases in salaries and wages announced during 1950–52 is about £28 million. The consequent rise in expenditure is the main reason why it has become necessary to increase Post Office tariffs.
Can my hon. Friend assure the House that this increase in wages will not decrease the commercial surplus?
I am afraid that the commercial surplus for the next year will be less than it has been for 25 years.
Is not that answer in contradiction to the statement that the hon. Gentleman made on Monday, when, in answer to a specific Question, he stated that the surplus on the commercial accounts would be reduced from £25 million to £3 million for 1951–52?
There is no contradiction whatever. I was asked bow much the increases in salaries meant to the Post Office Bill generally, and I have given the answer.