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Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1951

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Reception, North Devon


asked the Postmaster-General whether he can now reply to the letter from the honourable and gallant Member for Devon, North, dated 22nd February, on the subject of radio reception in North Devon.

My right hon. Friend hopes that the hon. and gallant Member has already received his reply.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the reply of the Postmaster-General gave no satisfaction, and that he covered himself with the cloak of the B.B.C? Is it not time that the Minister took responsibility for his office?

I must recommend the hon. and gallant Member to read the Charter under which the B.B.C. has its licence.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the only chance which people living in this area have of receiving a reasonably objective account, either of Government policy or of what happens in this House, is through the good offices of the B.B.C, and, in view of the fact that people are at present so much under the control of the Press and Tory propagandists, will he do his utmost to expedite this service?

In view of the unsatisfactory reception in many parts of the country, which is not entirely due to the B.B.C. by any means would the Assistant Postmaster-General consider hastening the establishment of V.H.F. broadcasting stations which could boost the B.B.C. services in the different regional areas?

Can the Assistant Postmaster-General tell us by what date we may expect some results from the action taken in reference to North Devon and North Cornwall?

Transmitters (Cost)


asked the Postmaster-General if he will give an estimate of the cost of the transmitters necessary to raise the quality of sound transmission in Devonshire to the standard in other parts of the country.

This is a matter for the B.B.C. on which my right hon. Friend has no information; he suggests that the hon. Member should communicate with the Corporation.

Licences, Devon (Revenue)


asked the Postmaster-General what revenue the Post Office derive from wireless licences in Devonshire.

Proceeds from the sale of wireless licences in Devonshire during 1950 were approximately £222,000.

Will the hon. Gentleman not agree that it is a little hard that the people of Devon should have to pay this vast sum of money and then not get proper reception?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that V. H. F. broadcasting transmitters can be bought for approximately £50,000, and in view of the fact that he is collecting four times that money from licence holders in the Devon area would it not be wise to proceed with this service as soon as possible?

Is this not a question of wavelengths and frequencies rather than transmitters? Although this may be a matter for the B.B.C, is it not a matter for the Government to see that we get the wavelengths necessary for transmissions in this country? Will the hon. Gentleman see that we get an adequate allocation of wavelengths?

Reception, Furness


asked the Postmaster-General if he will take steps to improve broadcasting reception in the Furness district of Lancashire.

My right hon. Friend understands from the B.B.C. that the Light Programme should 'be received satisfactorily on the long wavelength. Reception of the Home Service is unsatisfactory; this is one of the areas in which the B.B.C. hopes to make an improvement.

Will the hon. Gentleman ask the B.B.C. governors to consider whether their first duty is not to see that everyone in the country can hear the aural programme before spending money on other developments?

Programme reception is constantly reviewed by the B.B.C. and improvements have been made but this is a very difficult problem, particularly in the Barrow area.