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British Broadcasting Corporation (Report)

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will now make a statement on the policy of the Government with regard to the recommendations made in the Beveridge Report on the British Broadcasting Corporation.

I am not yet in a position to add anything to the replies which were given on this subject by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary when he was Lord President of the Council, but I am giving the matter urgent attention.

While welcoming the right hon. Gentleman back to the House in his new capacity, even though he will not be allowed to hold it very long— [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]— because of the approaching end of this Parliament—will he say whether he would be prepared to receive representations from many of us who do not approve of several or, indeed, many of the recommendations of the Beveridge Report?

I intend to give the House a very full opportunity to debate this subject, but I have not yet come to a final conclusion, because I do not know whether to do it by the method of a White Paper. I want to put forward the Government's views and enable the House to have a free debate, so that the Government can then come to a final conclusion on the attitude to be adopted with regard to the B.B.C. In that way, we can hear everybody's opinion.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that it is the Government's policy not to sacrifice sound broadcasting to the development of television?

I am not an expert on either, but one thing I have learned among a lot of others in my lifetime is that the fellow who is not an expert usually makes the best settlement.

As the right hon. Gentleman started his career in Devonshire, will he see that the people of Devon get adequate sound broadcasts?