26 FEBRUARY 1921, Page 3

The strong feeling aroused by the increase of the telephone

rates was reflected on Friday, February 18th, in a Unionist amendment to the Address proposing that the -telephones should be -leased to a private company and thus yield a profit to the State. Mr. Illingworth did his best to defend a depart- ment whoa° inefficiency is notorious.: He said that the Post Office before the was made greater- profits than the National Tell:1911one .Company -bad doh% butt Jae forgot to add that the company was continually harassed and obstructed instead of being encouraged by the department, He made a better case for the abolition of the flat rate. The House evidently felt that the remedy proposed was too drastic, but it insisted on an inquiry into the management of the telephone service. Mr. Illingworth was thrown over, and the Attorney-General in a conciliatory speech agreed to the appointment of a Select Committee, with power• to inquire into the telephone adminis- tration and its method of making ohargee. The Attorney- General, however, insisted that the new telephone rates must take effect from April, so that the Post Office will have no incentive to-strive for economy.