Skip to main content

Television (Band Iii)

Volume 524: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if, in view of the Government's inability to undertake to bear the cost of changes of frequency due to the allocation of Band III to competitive television, he will take steps to ensure that the cost, falling on local authority ambulance services, will be borne by firms who gain advantages from competitive television.

The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. The decision to clear Band III over a period of years, as recommended by the Television Advisory Committee, was taken to provide additional television services, whether such services were to be provided by the B.B.C. or otherwise. The private interests affected were warned at the time their licences were issued that their frequencies might have to be changed.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the change will cost the Sal-ford Corporation, for example, a great deal of money and will involve local authorities generally in an expenditure of thousands of pounds? Is it not common justice that those who gain by the change should recompense those who suffer? Cannot some of the £750,000 to which the hon. Gentleman referred yesterday be devoted to this purpose?

None of the frequencies allocated to commercial television is being used by the services to which the hon. Gentleman refers. At the time the licences were issued it was made perfectly clear to the licensees that they might have to be moved from their frequencies. We intend to make the removal a fairly slow business in order not to cause more inconvenience than is absolutely necessary.

Was not Band III allocated for broadcasting purposes internationally in 1947? Is it not also true that the various services which are involved ought never to have been put into the Band, as a result of which these difficulties have arisen, and that the cost of any change should, therefore, fall on the Post Office, which is responsible for this having happened?

I am afraid that my hon. and gallant Friend is not correct in his diagnosis.

Will the hon. Gentleman look at the problem again? The fact remains that frequencies are having to be taken from Band III to provide channels for sponsored television. Is it not unfair to place this burden on local authorities and other public services?

We should be starting a very dangerous precedent if we did what is suggested. When the licences were issued it was made clear beyond all doubt to the licensees that in certain circumstances they might have to be removed from the Band.