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Scotland

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 8 November 1950

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17.

asked the Postmaster-General when building of the new Scottish television station is to commence; and when the station is likely to begin operating.

Building has already commenced, and the B.B.C. hopes that the station will be brought into service by about the end of 1951.

In view of the expectations of the Scottish people, is it not possible for the commencement of that station to be advanced substantially from that far off date?

This is really a matter for the B.B.C. I have gone into the matter with them, and I cannot see that it is physically possible to make greater speed than that provided in the time schedule quoted.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the United States of America they can build and bring into operation a new television station in three months, and have done so; and is this not, therefore, an unnecessary delay in bringing in the Scottish and other regional television stations?

There is no obligation upon me to defend the day-to-day policy of the B.B.C. in this matter. I understand, however, that in America the area covered by their stations is very much smaller than the one proposed for Scotland.

Will this station have its own studios to make its own Scottish television, or will it merely be relaying English programmes?

In view of the many functions which will have to be televised in connection with the Festival of Britain, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that some steps should be taken to try to advance the date to include that period when the Festival of Britain is operating all over Scotland as well as in London?

I will certainly convey the sentiments of the House to the B.B.C., but it is primarily their responsibility.