I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, after "and," to insert, "to maintain."
I think that this Amendment might be discussed together with the Amendment in line 12, after "of" to insert "no less" and the Amendment in line 13, after "transmitted" to insert, "and in every other respect."
Yes, Sir Charles, I think they do go together.The purpose of these Amendments is quite clear. It is that the Television Authority shall be responsible that the quality of the programmes and the quality of their transmission shall be comparable with that of the B.B.C. The Government are quite right in this respect in taking the standards of the B.B.C. as a yardstick of measurement of the quality both of the programmes operated by the programme companies under the control of the Authority and their transmission. But the words in the Bill "high quality" certainly need definition. What is so lacking in this Clause, and indeed throughout the Bill, is a definition of specific points of instruction both to the I.T.A. and the programme companies. I do not know whether we are to have the Assistant Postmaster-General with us on the argument that we are advancing. It is inherent in this Clause that what is necessary is that there shall be some regulation controlling the standard of quality of the programmes. I think that, in fact, we are not to have the Assistant Postmaster-General with us. I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman has made it quite clear that he is not even in favour of the Clause as it appears in the Bill. My reason for saying that is that when talking to a body of advertisers the hon. Gentleman used these words, as reported in the "World's Press News" of 30th April:
That is to say, he is now convinced that the standard of quality of the programmes to be televised is safe in the hands of the advertisers who are to pay for and organise their showing and that he would rather leave it in the hands of those people than have properly regulated control. That is not the view of the Government, and it is not the view of the Opposition. On this occasion it is clear that the Assistant Postmaster-General isolates himself from his own Government, because he holds a different view. I presume, therefore, that I shall be in order in directing my remarks to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary who, presumably, does agree with practically all the Clauses in the Bill. The Assistant Postmaster-General made it clear that he was talking personally and not on behalf of the Government on the occasion to which I have referred. I do not wish to do the hon. Gentleman any injustice. The report says he was speaking personally and I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. I wish to put this point to the Committee. Unless standards equally as high as those of the B.B.C. are laid down by this Committee, or by Parliament, it is absolutely certain that, either deliberately or accidentally, the I.T.A. programmes will be markedly worse than those we have experienced in television controlled by the B.B.C. and that great confusion will arise. Let me put an example which is not so hypothetical as it may sound. The B.B.C. has employed some really capable doctors over a number of years, including the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food—[HON. MEMBERS: "Capable?"]—I mean capable in medicine. They have given some salutary advice to the people of this country. The present "Radio Doctor" —I do not know who he is—is constantly giving very good advice to the people of this country. Think what will happen when advertisers produce a programme—designed, as I shall prove later, not to entertain but to sell goods—devoted to selling something containing, say, chlorophyll. It may be stated in the course of that programme, "You should pay money for this article because it contains chlorophyll, and chlorophyll is good for you." The B.B.C. doctor may say, "Do not take any notice of this nonsense. Chlorophyll is only a colouring. It has no real value." The American Medical Association has denounced the claims of the makers and advertisers of chlorophyll as being so much "eyewash," if I may use that term —[HON. MEMBERS: "Mouthwash."]—so that the B.B.C. doctor on television or on "steam" radio denounces it; but the programme companies put on a doctor in their programme to say, "You must have chlorophyll otherwise your teeth will fall out or you will have a sore throat." Of course, in conditions like that, straightaway the quality of commercial television programmes is lowered, apart altogether from the fact that the poor sufferer from a sore throat or bad teeth is deluded and the country is confused as to which is the best medical advice— the disinterested advice of the B.B.C. doctor or the interested advice of the doctor, who of course may be a pseudo-doctor, who is employed solely for the purpose of boosting a certain product. The B.B.C. doctors in their programmes are insistent on saying, "Do not, for goodness sake, if you are not feeling well, swallow a lot of patent medicines; do not treat yourself; do not constantly take pills." Their general advice if one is not well is to stay in bed and to send for a doctor; but the gentleman for whose benefit this Bill is produced do not want that. They want to say, "If you do not feel well, swallow gallons of patent medicine, stuff yourself with pills and do not send for a doctor." Unless we ensure that the advertising programmes are of the same high quality as the B.B.C. programmes, we shall in fact get a deliberate lowering of standards of quality on the programmes. We shall get this confusion between the two programmes, one from the B.B.C. saying to the people, "In your own interest do not," and the other saying to the people, "In our interests as advertisers do." How in those circumstances can we produce an enlightened and informed public? In addition, we are getting into a position where I think that the Assistant Postmaster-General, or at least the advertising interests who are pressing the Bill, will some time come forward and say, "The B.B.C. is damaging our interests by giving information of this sort and therefore some control should be put on what the B.B.C. say." I hope that the Committee will not think that that is an exaggerated point of view. I hope that hon. Members opposite who think that it is exaggerated will allow me to remind them of what took place in this country before the war when a gentleman who was once an honoured Member of the House of Commons, Sir Charles Higham, was responsible for the "Eat More Bread" campaign. It was not worth the while of some newspapers to write articles saying that bread was fattening because if they did say so Sir Charles Higham threatened that the advertising would be taken out of the papers. The pressure that the advertiser has at times exerted successfully on some newspapers is an indication of the frame of mind of the advertiser when he starts to consider what will be said on other services about matters in which he is interested. In fact, unless we have this definition of a high quality programme, it will be impossible for a programme company to produce a decent, intelligent, sustaining programme. For the benefit of the Committee, I will explain that a sustaining programme is one which will be paid for by the programme companies, which will contain no advertising but will be designed to attract the interest of a potential advertiser who will ultimately either buy the programme or buy time in the programme. Some of the best programmes produced in the United States started as sustaining programmes. Such a programme must be challenging and different from the ordinary run of programmes. That is a good thing; but it is not a good thing if a man wants to produce a sustaining programme of high quality which contains facts designed to advise mothers on how to look after their children. The programme might say to mothers that it is not a good thing that they should give their child a purgative a day. It would be a very bad thing if influences could be used to get a programme like that either taken off the air or altered in some way or another. As it stands, this Bill will produce a sort of Gresham's law of bad entertainment driving out the good. The reason is the considerable number of programmes which it is proposed should be broadcast. I do not know whether I am right in quoting what Mr. Norman Collins has to say."Even if there were no regulations as to the type of advertising that might 'be used on television he personally would be happy to rely on the advertising profession to control programmes."
Who is he?
He is a gentleman who seems to have the inside of the Postmaster-General's office and who is able to go to potential advertisers and to give to people who might be interested a great deal of information which I have not yet heard being given to the House of Commons. Speaking to the free-lance section of the Institute of Journalists, and reported again in that bible of Fleet Street, the "World's Press News" of 26th March, Mr. Collins says:
We knew that. Then he says:"Commercial television will run for five hours a day."
I do not know how he is privileged to know that there are to be 70 half-hour programmes a week. Nobody else knew that the programme day was to be chopped up into half-hour intervals, but presumably Mr. Collins, who has already been making it clear that he expects to have a monopoly in London, or who at least has been giving the impression that he has been promised a monopoly in London, now says that there are to be 70 half-hour programmes a week. I checked the "Radio Times" for this week and found that there are 58 programmes, not counting the sound programme that comes on last thing at night containing the news. Therefore, the B.B.C. with all its staff, its resources and experience is only able to put on 58 programmes in the course of a week against the 70 that Mr. Collins announces that it is Government policy that there should be. If the number of programmes is to be increased to that extent, what will happen is that—unless there is a definite understanding that the quality shall be not inferior to the B.B.C.—we shall produce programmes which are far inferior to those produced by the B.B.C. That is bound to happen, because the pressure will be tremendous. Those of us who have watched television and studied it know that there is no other instrument in the world that is such a devourer of the arts and of the planners. I do not think that there will be enough programmes of a high quality to maintain 70 half-hour programmes a week. Something has to go. Some of the advertising men who are now in this country from the United States and who have been imported by the advertising agents to teach them the television business, because the British advertising agents do not know that business and many of them do not even want to know it—they are quite content to go on serving their clients faithfully in the media they understand and are not eager that there should be commercial television—are with some of the biggest and highly concentrated groups. They are coming from the United States and saying to clients over here, "Forget any question of entertainment so far as commercial television programmes are concerned. We made a great mistake in the United States when we argued that programmes should contain entertainment. That is not the purpose of the programme. The purpose of the programme is to shift the goods, to sell the advertisers' goods. If you think that the purpose is simply to produce entertainment or education or programmes designed to illuminate the dark corners of the world, you are making a great mistake. The test of a programme is, 'Does it sell the goods?'" These advertising men are supported by that great and wonderful man, Mr. Bernard Braden, whose voice I am sure will carry the respect of this House. Mr. Braden—"There will have to be 70 half-hour programmes a week."
Must we really listen to this nonsense?
That is a point of view. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] The answer is that my hon. Friend does not have to. I am gratified to see that there are enough hon. Members in the Chamber to sustain me in the belief that I had better go on with my speech. Mr. Bernard Braden said:
He was talking from the point of view of the comedian. That is Mr. Bernard Braden's view, and I presume that it is for similar reasons that Mr. Danny Kaye, also an expert in this art, refuses to go on commercial television. We are entitled to consider what is going on in the United States today, where there is no yardstick of measurement of quality except that of the ability of one programme to be so designed to sell goods that it is more successful than another. "Time," which is a prominent American weekly news magazine, makes it clear that there is a constant degeneration in the quality of the programmes. The United States programmes are mainly devoted to quiz programmes of one sort or another, and "Time" complains that as quiz after quiz begins to flop, another and even sillier quiz is started. It is a pity that in this country we are subjected to as many quiz programmes as we get at the moment, but I suggest that under the Bill the door will be opened for the buying of quiz programmes from the United States which the Americans no longer want. These are to be imposed upon us. Further, as the quiz programmes fail in their purpose, as they fail to sell the advertised goods, as they cease to make it (possible for the goods to be shifted, the emphasis in the United States is to get away from the quiz and to concentrate on the "strike-it-rich "programmes—the sort of programme which induces what advertising men call "audience participation," in the hope of being able to win large prizes either in money or household goods or motor cars. These programmes are now being declared illegal in the United States. The other day, "The Times" had an interesting illustration of what is happening in Canada, where the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has decided to keep a watchful eye on prize-giving schemes. "The Times" says:"The entertainers' responsibility will be to realise that each viewer is a potential buying unit, and unless enough viewers (a) watch him and (b) buy advertised products, he will be given short shrift indeed. Unless programmes are presented and performed with that primary fact in mind, entertainers will be unwise to start counting that extra money before it is safely in the pockets."
This almost drove Mr. Howe mad. We do not want to see programmes here devoted to the life of David Maxwell Fyfe or Richard Austen Butler. I do not think we want to see them subjected to the same sort of programme as that in connection with Mr. Howe. But if this is a successful form of selling goods, although it will be a great inconvenience to the Home Secretary, the Assistant Postmaster-General and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it will be adopted unless we insist that the quality of these programmes shall be not less than that of the B.B.C. We are entitled to demand that. If sponsored radio, commercial radio—Radio Luxembourg, Athlone or any other station—had ever thrown up any programme which was worth listening to and which made any serious contribution to the art of radio, one would say, "These people have learned and will go on producing good programmes from now on." But what do we get on commercial "steam" radio? There has never been a good play, there is nothing but disc jockeys turning out the same agonising American music every time, there are no documentaries, there is no original work of any kind; because the advertiser does not believe that that is the sort of work which sells his goods. He believes that if he puts on an audible wallpaper and breaks it every now and again with an interpolation to buy somebody's goods, that is the way to sell. He does not care anything at all about entertainment value: he is concerned with shifting the goods."Recently one station ran a contest for a large money prize in which the correct answer was "the career of Clarence Decatur Howe," which caused the Minister of Trade and Commerce to be inundated for weeks… with telephone calls."
Would the hon. Gentleman admit two things—first, that many of the most successful programmes on B.B.C. television originated as American commercial programes; and, secondly, that "Itma," one of the most successful B.B.C. programmes ever, started on Radio Luxembourg?
I was not aware of that and I am deeply obliged for the information from the hon. Member, whose interest in these matters is so considerable. It is true that the great Tommy Handley took "Itma" to the B.B.C. and never took it away again. It was exclusive to the B.B.C.; he stayed there. The reason was that Tommy Handley preferred working for the B.B.C. to working for commercial interests. No commercial interest was able to get him away from the B.B.C.
The hon. Member must not pervert the facts. The reason he could not get away was that Radio Luxembourg had closed down owing to the war.
We are grateful for these interesting expressions of view.
They are facts.
And reminiscences. One other reason was that the B.B.C. paid Tommy Handley £400 a week. Tommy Handley once said to me, "While I get £400 a week, why should I be at the dictation of a laxative?"
He was doing the programme for Horlick's, which is not a laxative.
Apart from that example, the commercial stations have not produced outstanding works. We have had some quiz programmes on British television which have come from the United States—and they are the throw-outs from the United States. What will happen is that there will be a steadily declining audience interest in many of the quiz programmes. Only one of them is an outstanding success today— "What's my Line?"; and in another year that will go to the ash-can, as others have gone before it, because this medium is a tremendous devourer of programmes, artists and writers.I have dealt so far with the importance of keeping the programmes up to the very high quality of the B.B.C. [Interruption.] What is equally important is the standard of transmission. I gather that some hon. Members opposite do not think the quality of the B.B.C. programmes is very high. They will have an opportunity, alas, if the Bill is passed, of comparing the "drip" which they will get from their advertising friends on that side of the Committee with the efforts of the B.B.C., and we are content to let the public judge. Indeed, if hon. Members opposite hold this point of view, I cannot understand why they accepted the dictation of the Whips on such a matter as this. Had they wanted freedom on this question, I should have thought that they would have seen that they got it. We were told yesterday that the delivery of transmission equipment is something like two years. The temptation of the programme companies, who are now being told to get ahead as fast as they can, is to get transmission equipment from wherever they can. That means that they will go to the second-hand market, for what matters is getting the programme started. Every single man interested in the programme companies wants to get in before his rival and to establish himself. We therefore have the danger that inferior transmission equipment will be used in place of good transmission equipment—in place of the best transmission equipment, which at the moment is available to the B.B.C. It is, therefore, all the more necessary to see that we do not have the fuzzy kind of pictures which the Americans are producing. They, too, were in a hurry. We must ensure that only the best is provided, both in quality of programme and in quality of transmission, for the people of this country. These two Amendments have an important bearing on the future and I therefore recommend them to the Committee.
The Committee has listened to a very significant speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer), and I hope that, in spite of the interruptions to which he was subjected, the Committee will take those views very seriously, because I myself have had very considerable experience in a field in which my hon. Friend has operated for many years, and the conclusions at which I have arrived coincide entirely with his.My hon. Friend made a very serious statement as to the possibilities facing us if we pass this Bill, and I think it is exceedingly important that these Amendments, which are designed to protect standards, should have the very careful consideration and sympathy of the Committee. The public have a right both to standards in television and safeguards for those standards, and that is the object of the Amendments. We ought to protect the public, because already there are various mass media which are influencing public opinion, public taste and public views, and which tend to lower public taste. Already these mass media are debasing tastes in this country. We have American comics which are flooding the market and which our youngsters are reading, and at the moment we have no means of protecting those youngsters from this depraving influence. American films, many of which are very good and attain a high degree of technical efficiency, include a proportion which are influencing our language, altering our spelling, changing our syntax, and, indeed, changing our way of life in all manner of respects. Again, such films are shown to children and they have all manner of social effects. There is no doubt that the television programme which our people are now viewing is well devised, and that a great endeavour is made to provide the people with the varied programme which meets their many tastes. There is also no purpose other than to provide entertainment behind the activities of the B.B.C. It is this standard which has already been established which we think needs to be defended, and we say that this standard which has been built up over the years should be defended, and that the work of the B.B.C. should not be challenged in the way in which there is every possibility of its being challenged if this Bill goes through in its present form. 4.15 p.m. I had an opportunity during the last few hours of running through the B.B.C. television programme for one week, and I find that, among many other things, it provides a children's programme every afternoon and educational programmes on Monday evenings, and that there is at the moment an important series being presented on the subject of world religions. These are the standards which we ought to defend. There are also political broadcasts, a science review, a feature dealing with the filming of wild animals in Africa, and another concerned with the Severn Wild Fowl Trust, which is a purely educational television broadcast. I ask hon. Members whether they really anticipate that, when the programme companies get into operation, they will exercise the same kind of care for the interests of the people of this country? Of course, they will not.
While appreciating all that the hon. Member has said, may I ask him why he speaks as if the work of the B.B.C. is about to come to an end?
Of course it will go on, but there is a danger inherent in the whole situation, and it is about that danger that I want to speak.What we are trying to do is to examine the methods which will be employed in the devising of programmes financed by the advertisers. Hitherto, all broadcast programmes, both radio and television, have been designed to meet the wishes of the listeners, not for the purpose of selling goods and not for the purpose of meeting the needs of advertisers. The listener or the viewer has been the sole concern of the Corporation which has been established to undertake this type of work, and, in order that the view of the listener shall be thoroughly understood and appreciated, a large proportion of B.B.C. funds has been allocated to what is called listener and viewer research. Throughout the history of the B.B.C., a constant effort has been made to ascertain people's tastes and the kind of programme they prefer, so that the focus of all this work has been the interests of the listener and the viewer. In the United States, where they have commercial sponsoring and advertising programmes, the Federal Communications Commission insists that there shall be a certain amount of "sustaining time," but the Commission has complained time and time again that the regulation about "sustaining time" is ignored by the companies, and that they reduce it to an absolute minimum so as to meet the requirements of the advertisers. Whether the programme companies in this country will be prepared to provide a worthwhile "sustaining time" is in my view a very doubtful proposition. Already we know that it will cost a very large sum of money to institute this new service, and that the advertisers will have to pay large sums of money for the time which they use. The advertisers will have to be very wealthy, and, in my view, there is hardly likely to be very much "sustaining time" on the new service, once it is instituted. The demand will be for mass audiences. That has always been the case in countries where broadcasting services are financed by advertisers, who tend all the time to play to the gallery. Gradually, the selective viewer and listener are ignored. People with taste are by-passed. We shall find in this country that the slow but socially desirable task of raising standards will be reversed, by a form of competition which will affect the B.B.C., which will have to look to its standards. The tendency will be for this kind of competition to degrade generally the taste of the people and to interfere with the taste of those who now use the services of the B.B.C. The whole level of standards is in very serious jeopardy. The time may come when the B.B.C. will have to decide between television broadcasts on world religion and Vic Oliver. Not that I am complaining about Vic Oliver; he gives magnificent programmes, but there is a fine distinction between the two. It may not be desirable to give broadcasts on world religion simply because the number of viewers participating would not justify the transmission.
I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman noticed a paragraph in a newspaper a week or two ago saying that the Director of Religious Broadcasts in the B.B.C. had gone over to America to study how they do it on the commercial system there.
I can tell the hon. Gentleman how they do it in America. If he likes, he can listen in to Luxembourg and hear the types of religious organisation and the techniques they employ to advance their philosophy. Our programmes can be debased. One has only to go to America to hear some of the programmes that are transmitted to be certain of that. I remember what happened on one occasion when I was in Cleveland, where I was interested in the frequency modulation system which is used in America, and which I felt might be used with advantage here. Now the B.B.C. propose to use this new type of broadcasting medium.When I started to listen in America, I heard a man telephoning people. Apparently he was taking names at random out of the telephone book and phoning the people up. He would say: "Is that Mrs. So-and-so?" "Yes," would be the answer. "Have you discovered the answer to Brown's question?" he would ask. "Oh, you have not. I am very sorry. I was hoping that you might be able to give me the answer." Then he would phone someone else, and the same thing would happen. Strangely enough, I happened to be listening when a person to whom a telephone conversation was being addressed replied: "Oh, yes, I know who discovered the screw." She gave the name of the person who discovered the screw. The advertiser then said, "You know the inventor of the screw. Then you are indeed a lucky woman. You are to have 5,000 dollars worth of goods." He detailed a list of goods she was to have, including a motor car.
The hon. Member has made a very interesting statement. Would he please name the person who invented the screw?
I heard this man ask people whether they knew the name of the king who followed Hamlet. So it went on. There is no doubt that standards have been terribly debased in America, because all forms of broadcasting, both radio and television, are in the hands of the advertisers, who are out to obtain mass audiences and are not satisfied unless they get them. It will be very much better if the Committee supports the Amendment.
I shall deal first with the point raised by the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Reeves), who rather feared that there might be an opportunity under the Bill for religious bodies to buy time. If he looks at the Schedule he will find that he is wrong.
I was speaking of what is done in America.
I thought the hon. Gentleman feared that it might happen here; and in any case I do not see that what they do in America has much relevance to this discussion. I did not see the point of his very interesting story about ringing someone up and asking her who invented the screw. If anyone rang me up and asked me who invented the screw I could not tell him, and I should be inclined to put the 'phone down.
Is the hon. Gentleman quite sure that the Schedule does not allow anybody to buy time? If a particular denomination of religion wanted to broadcast a service could they not do that under the Schedule?
No, Sir. It may not be in order to discuss that point, but I can say offhand that it is not so. The point raised by the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) was that the Bill lacked depth. He tried to find a definition of the words "high quality," and wanted to make the standard of definition of high quality the standard of the B.B.C. services. I do not think it is possible to define the words "high quality."I suppose high quality is one of those things which we know when we meet it, and we must remember that high quality for one person is not necessarily high quality for another person. What is more, standards of high quality differ from age to age. For example, do we regard the poems of Edith Sitwell as of high quality? Some do. Some people do not understand them and are not sure whether they are of high quality or not. So it is with Picasso's paintings. It is impossible to do what the hon. Gentleman would like to do, define "high quality," although we all know it when we meet it.
If high quality is indefinable, what is the point of having the words in the Bill at all?
There is nothing incomprehensible about them. High quality is something that we recognise when we experience it and it is quite well understood by people responsible for turning out programmes of high quality; but to attempt to define it in detail would land us in an impossible situation.4.30 p.m. The second part of the Amendment is designed to make the B.B.C.'s services the standard of quality by which the Authority's services are to be judged. With all due respect to the hon. Gentleman—and I think he wanted to try to help in this matter—I suggest that when we come to break it down the Amendment is meaningless. Who is to be the judge concerning the comparative worth of a service sent out by the B.B.C. and one transmitted by the Authority? I think that the hon. Gentleman is trying to lay down a scientific standard for something that does not, and cannot possibly, lend itself to a scientific definition. Let us take some of the programmes transmitted by the B.B.C. Who is to judge whether "Ballet for Beginners" is better or worse than cabaret for adults? What about the doings of the "Under Twenty Club"? By what yardstick do we assess these programmes? What about a table tennis tournament? I agree that normally the B.B.C. sends out programmes of very high quality, but there are certain lapses for which I would be the last to blame it. I do not suppose that very many hon. Members have the time, the opportunity, or, possibly, the inclination to look at television, but the other night I saw a play in which we were shown a dead girl, head downwards on a bed with blood gushing out of a knife wound. Then we were shown someone being scientifically throttled. It was a horror film, and I hope that such a film would not be put forward as being of a standard of quality to which everything else should be subordinated. I do not imagine that the B.B.C. was very proud of it. According to the Press, a large number of people wrote to the B.B.C. complaining about it. It is true that before showing this horror programme the B.B.C. warned people what to expect.
It was quite an exception.
I agree that it was an exception, but it was not the kind of programme to which we should necessarily tie the standard of the new Authority. Though the B.B.C. warned viewers that it was going to show this horror film, I do not know whether that is satisfactory or whether it means that children who ought to have been in bed might not have stayed up half an hour later.
Does not my hon. Friend consider that it might be better if some of the very rough things said in Shakespeare's plays were expunged?
My hon. Friend has given another illustration of how impossible it is to define high quality.
The standard by which one can judge B.B.C. programmes is, broadly speaking, that they are not offensive. They are designed to give entertainment and instruction, but not to be offensive. The B.B.C. may have lapses from grace, but then everybody does. I am prepared to accept that. But the trouble with sponsored programmes is that they will not be designed to be either offensive or inoffensive, but to sell goods. That is a low standard of quality which could well be compared with the higher standard of the B.B.C.
This horror programme to which I have referred was exceptional, but if such a programme were put out by a commercial station, I should expect the I.T.A. to have something to say about it. I do not believe that even scientifically we can accept any definition of a high standard, and less still can we say that the B.B.C. is to be the criterion of good taste.This Amendment proposes to lay an obligation upon the Authority which has never been laid upon the B.B.C. The B.B.C. has never been told to put out programmes of high quality or of good taste. We have trusted it, as we propose to trust this other authority which is to be set up in exactly the same way. I think that to lay down someone else's standard as a standard of good taste must surely misrepresent the whole meaning of competition to which we on this side of the House attach such importance in this Bill. The responsibility for what goes out over the air is to rest on men and women no less eminent than the people who have been selected for the B.B.C. I believe that we can trust them to see that the programmes sent out are of a high standard. As I say, the whole idea of this Bill is competition. If we do not appreciate that, then, I think, we have failed to understand what I regard as one of the fundamentals. To suggest an Amendment of this sort is like saying that if, for example, there had been a monopoly in the manufacture of motor cars, anyone else who made motor cars must make them as good as those produced by the monopoly.
Not less good.
It would be a ridiculous thing to say. I suggest that the real arbiters in the matter are not hon. Members of this House, but the people who look at the programmes. While we on this side of the Committee have infinite faith in the good sense of the British people, hon. Gentlemen opposite appear to have very little. They want to lay down regulations as to what the British public should be allowed to view.If we attempted to lay a statutory obligation on this new Authority, and, above all, if we attempted to tie the quality of what it transmits to some undefined standards of the B.B.C., we should be laying an impossible burden upon it. I cannot imagine that if we attempted to do that, anybody of any standing would ever serve on the Authority at all. We may disagree about whether this Bill is a good one or a bad one, but I take it that we are all agreed that, if there is to be an Authority, we want first-class people to serve on it. Quite frankly, if we were to do as the hon. Gentleman suggests, and try to tie down people in this way, I cannot imagine any self-respecting people being prepared to serve on such a body. There is one other point about transmission equipment. The hon. Gentleman rather feared that the quality of the transmission might be bad. I do not know why he feared that. After all, we are dealing here with a public authority, and the question of transmission is something that is completely self-regulating. If the new programmes are blurred and unsatisfactory to look at, people will not look at them. They are not compelled to look at them. It is something purely voluntary, and I think that is the best safeguard that we can possibly have. I have endeavoured to answer the point raised by the hon. Gentleman, and I hope that as we have discussed this Amendment for a considerable time—I am sure that we all want to get on—the Committee will be prepared to come to a decision on the matter.
One thing that is apparent from the speech of the Assistant Postmaster-General is that there is no point at all in putting in the words "high quality." The hon. Gentleman was at great pains to say that high quality was undefinable, and that it could mean so many things to so many people that there was no point in trying to attach a particular meaning to it. He gave analogies to support that argument.The hon. Gentleman suggested that it would be quite impossible to define a high quality motorcar by saying that it was of as high a quality as another motorcar. I suggest that if one were to say that the motorcar was to be of the same high quality as a Rolls Royce, it would mean something. The truth is that this is another example of the sloppy and deceptive drafting of this Bill. I am not one of those who seek to support the B.B.C.'s television service on the grounds of quality. I have seen some very good stuff and I have seen some very bad stuff. The Assistant Postmaster-General says that we can trust these people and that, in any case, if we cannot trust them they will be censored by the I.T.A. Broadly speaking, we trust that, overall, the B.B.C. will give good quality programmes but, as is apparent from the Assistant Postmaster-General's speech we cannot trust these other people. Though at one moment he may say he trusts them, in fact he says that we cannot because he says that the I.T.A. will tick them off if they broadcast something which they should not. If he is not prepared to accept the Amendment he had far better take the words out of the Bill altogether. It would be encouraging if the Government would stop putting in these smooth euphemisms which are inserted to satisfy the consciences of people who do not like this sort of thing.
The Assistant Postmaster-General very astutely asked the Committee to come to a decision now. It is not surprising that he should try to foreshorten this debate on what is, I should think, one of the most material issues in this piece of legislation. He made no attempt whatsoever to answer the case put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer), who put his finger on a most crucial point. The whole test of this Bill is whether it is to serve business interests purely and simply, or whether it is to devote itself at all to any interests of any sort or kind connected with the viewer.The Assistant Postmaster-General tried to give us a thesis on how one lays down tests about good taste. It is not surprising that he was very quickly all over the place, because he had no foundation whatever upon which to base his argument. If the hon. Gentleman would just give me a moment's attention I will tell him my reason for saying that. He knows that the whole influence here will be the advertiser, and he cannot disguise it. The mere fact that he gets up and talks round it does not alter the situation. When the Bill has become an Act and its provisions are in operation we will then begin to see the worst features of this piece of legislation—features concerned with the very point contained in my hon. Friend's Amendment. The Assistant Postmaster-General asked how anyone could tell what is good taste. He said that what one person thought was good taste another person did not. As an example he instanced Picasso. There is all the difference in the world between on the one hand expressing a certain view of something that one person thinks is eccentric or futuristic, and, on the other hand, considering something which is a sheer piece of commercial exploitation. There is no comparison between the two, and, of course, he knows it. This is not a question of true criticism only. This is an issue of criticism versus low standards. What we will get as a result of this legislation is not genuine comparative criticism, but a low standard—a very low standard as long as profit can be gained by the advertisers whom this so called alternative programme is intended exclusively to serve. 4.45 p.m. We all know, and we had better face it—and the Assistant Postmaster-General had better face it—that the purpose of this Bill is to produce sales for advertisers. It is not to produce entertainment, or art, or education for viewers. The purpose of this particular Measure is to get sales and its success and its finance will depend exclusively upon whether it achieves that object. Therefore, what is the good of wasting the time of the Committee and trying to fool hon. Members on both sides and people in the country about this? The hon. Gentleman tried to give us a lurid picture of an incident in a B.B.C play where some gore was streaming from someone's mouth. There may be—indeed there are—exceptions to every rule. It shows just how hard put to the Assistant Postmaster-General is when he has to cite-this remote and unusual incident. He should really try to be better briefed than he has been, and should show a little more confidence in the case he is pretending to put forward. When the hon. Gentleman speaks about the standards for a programme given through this alternative service I would like him to tell the Committee what control there will be over those standards. We know that in practice there will be no control whatever over these programmes. It is the advertiser who will dictate the programme. It is not what educates but what sells that will prevail—there is no question about that. I wish to conclude by reading an extract from a letter which I saw purely by accident. The letter was not sent to me, nor was it known that the extract would even be read by me. It was sent from Canada by a daughter to her father in Gloucester. This is what is says:
"Pray that England never, never stoops to commercial radio or television. You cannot imagine the shocking quality of most of the programmes. If you do get something that you can at least find bearable it is interrupted every few minutes with a commercial for somebody's laxatives or anything under the sun—no kidding, it drives you nuts."
No, wait until I have finished.
Order. If the hon. and learned Gentleman does not give way no other hon. Member may be on his feet.
I will give way in a moment.That extract is from a letter from a person who did not dream for a moment that it would be used in this debate. The lady who wrote it is merely expressing the horror and distaste which she feels at the sort of thing she is getting from the sort of system which this Government is now trying to put upon this country.
Would the hon. and learned Gentleman accept my assurance that 90 per cent. of the Canadians would entirely disagree with the views expressed in that letter?
I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's assurance, which is tendentious. I accept this lady's version, which has no ulterior motive. She did not expect that it would be read here.I ask the Committee to adopt this Amendment because not only will it purify this piece of legislation, but as far as the Government and their intentions are concerned it will make it impossible to carry it out, which will be all to the good.
I wish to protest briefly against this really ingenious way of reading a letter and then proceeding as if there is something sacred about it. One might as well get up and say, "I was speaking to a man in a 'pub' and he said that American television was awful." Yet if one reads a letter, that is supposed somehow or other to make it sacred. I understood a passage in the letter which the hon. and learned Member for Gloucester (Mr. Turner-Samuels) read as being to the effect, "If you get a good programme it is interrupted every few minutes by an advertisement." Is that really true? Is every programme interrupted every few minutes? If one believes that one will believe anything. [Interruption] I have no letter, but perhaps it will help if I now pretend to be reading one.A close American friend of mine was speaking to me yesterday about this matter. He was in the Gallery listening to the early part of the debate, and what he said to me was, "In New York I have 11 stations. They vary in quality, but I can turn from one to the other." I asked him about advertising. He said, "In our better programmes we have two minutes at the beginning, two minutes in some interval and two minutes at the end." Perhaps the value of that evidence is not great to Members opposite, because I made the enormous mistake of not getting that in writing.
How long are the programmes to which the hon. and learned Member has been referring—five minutes, 10 minutes, or what?
I think he said they were half an hour programmes so far as this Amendment is concerned, and we seem to be a long way from it. I am bound to say that these words do not mean anything to this Clause, but, as the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) said, I have great doubts whether the other words mean anything either.
I cannot see why we should not agree on this Amendment, although we approach it from different angles, because the Government say that the programmes which they are proposing are to be, owing to competition and vigour, infinitely better than those of the B.B.C. Our Amendment in no way says that they shall not be better. They are in no way being tied down, as the Assistant Postmaster-General said. If he thinks that they are to be better why is he objecting by saying that they shall not be worse than those of the B.B.C?We think that there will be a natural tendency in these programmes to find a generally lower level. They will be pursuing profit and not public service, and they will gradually lower their standards. So, although the motives on the two sides of the Committee are different, I think we can agree about what the Amendment proposes. We seek to say that the Authority's programmes shall not be worse than those of the B.B.C.; we think they are likely to be worse. The Assistant Postmaster-General need not object to these words because he is convinced that the programmes will be better. If he is so convinced he should accept the Amendment, to show how strong his convictions are. The hon. Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Leather) has asserted that 90 per cent. of the people of Canada thought well of the programmes there. I do not know how he knows that.
I shall be delighted to tell the right hon. Gentleman. Gallup polls have been taken on the subject quite recently.
Would the hon. Gentleman accept the verdict of Gallup polls on this matter in this country? They show a very different result.
The right hon. Gentleman has mentioned Gallup polls in this country, but how can a Gallup poll be taken on something which the people here do not know anything about?
I do not see how, in Canada, they can have taken a Gallup poll comparing commercial television with the sort of television programme that the B.B.C. gives us. We have another hon. Gentleman from the same country with us, the hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Baxter). If he would, for a minute or two, give us his opinions on the matter, and say whether he thinks that 90 per cent. of the Canadians take such a view, it would be of great benefit to the Committee.The hon. Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) laughed at the suggestion in the letter which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Turner-Samuels) read out that there would be "commercials" every few minutes. But I listened to the hon. and learned Member's own account, and apparently in a 30-minute programme there are to be six minutes of advertising—one minute to five minutes of programme time. It seems to me to be the same thing as saying "every few minutes" if for every five minutes one listens to a programme one has to have one minute of advertising, according to the hon. and learned Member's own figures which he had not written down before him but which, nevertheless, we can take on trust.
There are two minutes at the beginning, quarter of an hour of programme following, two minutes in the interval, a quarter of an hour programme and two minutes at the end.
According to my recollection, the hon. and learned Member said two minutes at the beginning, two minutes in the middle and two minutes at the end of a 30-minute programme, and six into 30 goes five. Then, presumably, there follows two minutes' advertising at the beginning of the next programme, so one probably gets four minutes of advertising together; and even if the proportion is one in seven that seems to me to be nearly every few minutes.The Assistant Postmaster-General mainly concentrated his attack on our proposal by saying that it was vague. When one heard what he said about the words "high quality" it is extraordinary that he should have used that criticism against our Amendment because he directed it with much greater force against his own Bill. It will be extraordinary if, after his speech, he does not come to the House, on Report, with an Amendment of words which he says are absolutely meaningless, indefensible and should not be in the Bill. Our purpose is to try to give a little definition to those words which he says are so vague. If we make a comparison with the B.B.C. we give a certain degree of definition towards which, otherwise, are quite meaningless; we provide some sort of standard by which listeners and hon. Members of this House can judge and call into account, if necessary, the programmes that are put out. Presumably, that is the purpose of putting in the Bill the words "high quality," so that there is some standard of judgment and criticism. We have tried to make what the Assistant Postmaster-General admits is a meaningless phrase into something with more meaning. It is so contradictory of the argument which has been used by the Postmaster-General, and some of the things he was saying were so alarming, that we really ought to divide on this Amendment to show how much importance we attach to it.
It is a little unusual to be invited to make a speech on the ground that what I say may be of value. I will speak only for two minutes. May I make a confession? What I want is dull television programmes, and the only way to ensure that would be for television to be left to the B.B.C. Because
Division No. 85.]
|Acland, Sir Richard||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Adams, Richard||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Albu, A. H.||Brawn, Thomas (Ince)||Fernyhough, E.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Burton, Miss F. E.||Finch, H. J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Callaghan, L. J.||Follick, M.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Carmichael, J.||Forman, J. C.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Champion, A. J.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Chapman, W. D.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)|
|Baird, J.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Balfour, A.||Clunie, J.||Gibson, G. W.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon A. J.||Collick, P. H.||Glanville, James|
|Bartley, P.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Gooch, E. G.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Cove, W. G.||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Bence, C. R.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)|
|Bean, Hon. Wedgwood||Crosland, C. A. R.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.|
|Benson, G.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Grey, C. F.|
|Beswick, F.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Daines, P.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Blackburn, F.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hannan, W.|
|Boardman, H.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon A. G.||Deer, G.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Dodds, N. N.||Hastings, S.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hayman, F. H.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Heatey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)|
|Brook, Dryden (Hal fax)||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Herbison, Miss M.|
of that I regret very much to see the introduction of advertising into television; but I think there has been a lot of nonsense talked this afternoon.
The programmes will undoubtedly improve, through advertising men having to undertake them. If there is an idea that advertising men will put out vulgar programmes, I say that is just not true. It is not like a newspaper, which can establish its personality and publish pornographic stories, with the public knowing what it is going to get. No advertiser would dare to go on a mass medium for reaching the public and offend 10 or 15 per cent. of them. The idea that programmes are poor under sponsored services is not true.
What I dislike above all things is the introduction of commercialism in television. I wish it had not happened, but the arguments from the opposite side of the Committee have not been based upon truth, though I am sure hon. Members opposite did not intend them not to be. Programmes will improve, and since this policy has now been decided upon and carried through the House we have to see how we can help the Bill and the whole venture. As I say, a lot of nonsense has been talked this afternoon.
Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 239; Noes, 258.
|Hewitson, Capt. M||Morley, R.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Holman, P.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Holmes, Horace||Mort, D. L.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Hoy, J. H.||Moyle, A.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Mulley, F. W||Sparks, J. A.|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Murray, J. D||Steele, T.|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Nally, W.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Oldfield, W. H.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Janner, B.||Oliver, G. H.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Orbach, M.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Oswald, T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Padley, W. E.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Pannell, Charles||Thornton, E.|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Pargiter, G. A.||Timmons, J.|
|Keenan, W.||Parkin, B. T.||Tomney, F.|
|Kenyon, C.||Pearson, A.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Popplewell, E||Usborne, H. C.|
|Kinley, J.||Porter, G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Lawson, G. M.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Price Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C)|
|Lewis, Arthur||Proctor, W. T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Pryde, D. J.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||West, D. G.|
|Logan, D. G.||Rankin, John||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|MacColl, J. E.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|McGovern, J.||Rhodes, H.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Mclnnes, J.||Richards, R.||Willey, F. T.|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|McLeavy, F.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Ross, William||Willis, E. G.|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Royle, C.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Mason, Roy||Short, E. W.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Mellish, R. J.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Messer, Sir F.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Yates, V. F.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Moody, A. S.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Skeffington, A. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Wilkins and Mr. John Taylor.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Burden, F. F. A.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Fisher, Nigel|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Campbell, Sir David||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Carr, Robert||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Channon, H.||Ford, Mrs. Patricia|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Fort, R.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Foster, John|
|Banks, Col. C.||Clarke, Brig. Terense (Portsmouth, W.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Baxter, A. B.||Cole, Norman||Galbraith, Rt. Hen T. D. (Pollok)|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Colegate, W. A.||Gammans, L. D.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Gaener-Evans, E. H.|
|Bell, Roland (Bucks, S.)||Cooper-Key, E. M.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Glover, D.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Godber, J. B.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Gomme-Duncan, Col A|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Crouch, R. F.||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Biroh, Nigel||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Gower, H. R.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Black, C. W.||Davidson, Viscountess||Grimond, J.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Deedes, W. F.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hare, Hon. J. H.|
|Braine, B. R.||Drayson, G. B.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Drewe, Sir C.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Duthie, W. S.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Hay, John||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Marples, A. E.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Heath, Edward||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maude, Angus||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Maydon, Lt. -Comdr. S. L. C.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Mellor, Sir John||Speir, R. M.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Molson, A. H. E.||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Moore, Sir Thomas||Stevens, G. P.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Holt, A. F.||Heave, Airey||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hope, Lord John||Nicholls, Harmar||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Studholme, H. G.|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Summers, G. S.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Oakshott, H. D.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Odey, G. W.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hurd, A. R.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||OrmsbyGore, Hon. W. D.||Teeling, W.|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B H.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Osborne, C.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Page, R. G.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Perkins, Sir Robert||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Kaberry, D.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Thornton-Kamsley, Col. C. N.|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Tilney, John|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Langford-Holt, J. A||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Pitman, I. J.||Turton, R. H.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Powell, J. Enoch||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Profumo, J. D.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Ramsden, J. E.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Lookwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Redmayne, M.||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Remnant, Hon. P.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Renton, D. L. M.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Ridsdale, J. E.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Watkinson, H. A.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|MacCallum, Major D.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wellwood, W.|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Roper, Sir Harold||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|McKinbin, A. J.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Russell, R. S.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Wills, Gerald|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Wills, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Ian (Enfield, W.)||Schofield, Lt.-Cot. W.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Shepherd, William||Major Conant and|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith.|
The next Amendment which has been selected is in page 1, line 13, leave our "so much of." It has been arranged to take with this the following Amendments: In line 14, leave out from "Islands," to end of line 15; in line 14, leave out "be reasonably practicable," and insert:
in line 15, at end, insert:"not becovered by the said services of the British Broadcasting Corporation";
in line 15, at end, insert:Provided that Authority shall so exercise their said functions as to provide as soon as possible such services as aforesaid for the whole of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands and, until they have so provided, shall not broadcast more than one programmed from any one of their stations;
In line 15, at end, insert:Provided that within six months after the Authority shall first have provided a programmed from a station situated in England, they shall provide a programme for Scotland or some part of Scotland from a station situated in Scotland;
There will be an opportunity for separate Divisions on the last two of that two of that series of Amendments.Provided that within six months after the Authority shall first have provided a programmed from a station situated in England, they shall provide a programmed for Wales or some part of Wales from a station situated in Wales.
I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, to leave out "so much of."This and the other Amendments to which you have referred, Major Anstruther-Gray, form a group designed to ensure that the second television programme shall provide a country-wide coverage and that the national interests of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shall be fully and properly recognised. It will be better if I deal right away with what I am sure hon. Members opposite will say is an inconsistency in this group of Amendments. I expect they will tell us, as some organs of the Press already have, that if we are against commercial television it is very curious for us to seek to impose a statutory duty upon the new Authority to provide a national coverage. There is no such inconsistency in these Amendments. We believe that commercial television is the wrong way to provide an alternative television programme; that it will provide television programmes inferior to those provided by the public service Corporation, and that, operating through commercial programme companies, it will find it impossible to provide a national coverage. These Amendments are designed to expose that fact to the public. Whatever may be the merits of commercial television in London or Birmingham, there is very little to be said for it in many parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Not only are the people in these areas to be deprived of the chance of a second television programme, certainly within the foreseeable future, but they will actually be made to pay for a second programme to be provided for other people living in more populated parts of the country. It is important to recognise the way in which this Bill torpedoes the interests of those living in Scotland and the remoter parts of the United Kingdom. One thing about which the B.B.C. can be justifiably proud is the degree of national coverage which it has provided in its television programmes. It has already reached 80 per cent. of the population, in a very short time, despite the tremendous post-war difficulties with which it has been faced. If this Bill were not before the Committee today, as part of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, the B.B.C. would be able to go ahead and raise its coverage to about 90 per cent. of the people. Public service television programmes, with the fine traditions already set by the B.B.C., would be brought to everybody to whom it was geographically possible to bring them. 5.15 p.m. The B.B.C.'s record is in shining contrast to the other great country which operates its television on the commercial principles espoused by the party opposite. Despite the United States' tremendous: wealth and the fact that it did not have to face so many post-war difficulties as we have faced, it has a coverage of only 60 per cent., as compared with the B.B.C.'s 80 per cent. I understand—and I shall be very glad if the Home Secretary can refute it—that the proposed Independent Television Authority, working through commercial programme companies, is likely to provide only a 55 per cent. coverage. The people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are entitled to know that when the Bill becomes an Act they will pay for a television service which is not likely to reach them in the foreseeable future. That is the main charge we make against these provisions of the Bill. The people of many parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not only not going to receive this programme but are going to pay very heavily for it. Those in Scotland who already have television sets will pay their share of the £750,000 subsidy which the Government propose to provide for the Authority out of increased television licence fees. The taxpayers of Scotland will also pay their share of the £2 million loan to be advanced by the Government to the new Authority. The general body of Scottish consumers, Scottish housewives and their husbands, will also have to pay, across the counter, their share of the advertising revenue which is the real source of the financial support for the proposed Authority. One of the great fallacies in the argument for so-called competitive television is that it provides a free service to the people. It is very curious to find this argument being put forward so eloquently by hon. Members opposite, because they belong to the party which for many years agitated against the provision of free social services. They argued that those services were not free because, of course, the general community had to pay for them in taxation. Similarly, in the field of commercial television the service is not free. The ordinary consumer has to pay an added price for the products of those who advertise. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland housewives, buying the new branded margarine or packets of soap flakes, or the Scotsman, drinking his pint of beer or taking his dram of whisky, will pay their share of the cost of running the proposed second television programme. In the proceedings that lie ahead of us in the Committee stage, we hope to make major improvements in relation to the quality of television programmes which are to be provided by the commercial companies. We are opposed to commercial television on principle, but since it has been carried against us, we shall do our best to safeguard the interests of the people. We insist that by introducing an alternative programme on the commercial principle the party opposite is depriving a large proportion of the citizens of the United Kingdom of the opportunity they would have had of a second alternative programme—and a much better one—if the matter had been left in the hands of a public corporation, operating either under the B.B.C. or in competition with it. The only way in which the alternative programme can be brought to the whole country, the only way in which the need of the citizens for an alternative programme can be met, is undoubtedly through a public service. For instance, the B.B.C. is able to provide television in Aberdeenshire at the moment. It was able to televise the Coronation in Aberdeenshire, not because it could make a profit or a surplus out of providing a television service up there, because the number of licences there, supposing the B.B.C. were to do its accounting on that basis, would not justify the provision of the service. The B.B.C. is able to subsidise a service to under-populated areas out of the surplus it obtains from providing a service in more densely populated areas. On the basis of this new proposed commercial television service it is utterly impossible for the programme contractors, even if they are willing to do so, to operate on the basis that the B.B.C. does. By their very nature as profit making companies it is not within their power to operate a service at a loss. They will serve the areas in which the maximum profit is to be made. If the Bill is allowed to pass un-amended in this respect, the new Authority will be charged with the duty of providing a television service merely for
That means, in practice, that the new Authority will be charged with the duty of providing a second television service for such areas of the United Kingdom as may be reasonably profitable. That is the essence of the Government's proposal, and we seek to amend it by laying a duty on the new Authority to give first priority to providing a national coverage with this alternative service. We do not believe that it is possible to meet the real needs of the people of this country on this commercial basis, and this Amendment and the other Amendments being considered with it are designed to expose that fact. I would ask the Home Secretary to give the Committee some frank answers to one or two questions. I want him to tell us what percentage of the population of Britain it is estimated that the proposed new Television Authority will reach. Is it indeed true that it will reach only 55 per cent. of the population? I asked, in a Question to the Assistant Postmaster-General today, how soon the commercial service was expected to reach Scotland; and he told us that it was much too early to make any estimate. Two of these Amendments propose that the second television programme should reach Scotland and Wales not more than six months after it has been begun in England. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether this can be done or not? If it cannot be done, how soon does he estimate he will bring the second television programme into Scotland? Is it not a fact that when the second television programme does finally reach Scotland, as it will finally, though much later than it would if provided by a public service, it will be available only to the populated central belt of Scotland, and that it will be impossible for the commercial Authority to provide a national coverage in Scotland. to the same degree as the B.B.C. is at present able to? Our charge is that by pushing forward this proposal for commercial television against the overwhelming weight of public opinion in the country, the Government are making it impossible for large areas to receive television, in some cases for the first time, and in very many cases television for the second time. We were given an answer yesterday on the number of wavebands still available. By surrendering the presently available wavebands to the advertisers, the Government are postponing for a long time, and indefinitely, the possibility of providing to certain areas an alternative television programme."… so much of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as may from time to time be reasonably practicable."
I support the Amendment moved so ably and fully by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) because there is, as we said on Second Reading, a very strong feeling not only in Scotland but also in Wales that we shall have a very raw deal under commercial television. It may be asked, if we object to commercial television as such, why do we ask for a television station to be set up in a short period in the Principality?It is not very difficult to see why. I trust that the Home Secretary, with his particular concern for Wales, will be replying to the debate on these Amendments. One of the main reasons for them is to elicit from the Government, publicly, acknowledgment of a fact which is quite obvious to those who have been studying the matter, that because of the proposals for commercial television we are likely to get a much less adequate service than we should if the B.B.C. were allowed to improve its own services. That will be so particularly in the greater part of Wales, where, we must admit, the population is too thin for there to be any very attractive market, measured by purchasing power or numbers of people, for the commercial advertisers behind the programme contractors. If the matter were left in the hands of the B.B.C. or of some comparable alternative body that consideration, obviously, would not apply. Instead, the consideration of public service, which has actuated the B.B.C. in its dealings with the public, would be the effective consideration, and we should, therefore, have a very much better chance of an adequate service. I would remind the Committee that these Amendments are only the first of a series of Amendments that affect the Principality. Others affect also the concept of the programme. It is not proper to discuss that matter on this Amendment, of course. Public money is to be spent on the commercial television service. That seems to me slightly to alter the attitude one might otherwise have taken towards it. As my hon. Friend has emphasised, we have to pay for this service. As we have Aberdonians in Scotland, so we have in Wales people from Cardiganshire who are said to have the same characteristics. I had a Cardiganshire grandfather, a "good Cardie." That means that I, like others in the Principality, like to have value for money. 5.30 p.m. Frankly, we do not see how the majority of the people in Wales can expect to have any value whatever for the money which they will pay for the service which is to be provided. I shall be interested to learn how the Minister for Welsh Affairs proposes to satisfy them on this point. I cannot recall that he has ever dealt with the matter in public in the Principality. If he has done so, no doubt he will refresh our memory about it, but if he has not, it will be interesting to know whether he proposes to do so. There has been a very great deal of discussion in Wales. We do not like commercial television as such. We should very much prefer an alternative programme from the B.B.C., and feel that that is the way in which our money should be spent. However, if public money is to be spent in the way suggested, it is only right that the people of Wales should have a fair share of it. There is also the fact that we feel that, educationally and culturally, we have a very strong claim for particular attention being paid to Wales. I should be glad to know what explanation the right hon. and learned Gentleman wishes to give to the public of Wales on this very important matter.
I have been puzzled as to how a granddaughter of a "good Cardie" could possibly support the Amendments which we are discussing. For a considerable period we have heard from the Opposition of the debasement of cultural standards and the danger to public morals, especially in connection with advertisements for drink, and we have heard that the Welsh language may be drowned in a sea of commercial English. Is it not most extraordinary that we now get the Labour Party suggesting that the sooner the Welsh people are called upon to suffer these appalling and dangerous evils, the better it will be?We have been told that the new Authority is to be regarded as an altar of Mammon, and yet fellow-countrymen of mine and a fellow-countrywoman have suggested that the Golden Calf itself must be set up in Wales. I am sure that the explanation is that hon. Members opposite do not, in their hearts, think that the social consequences of commercial television will be wicked, and that they really think that the programmes will be popular. Before very many months have passed we shall hear no more about the wickedness, but the cry will be, "We tried to get the terrible Tories to give you this wonderful commercial television, but they resisted our Amendments." I am sure it will be found that once the Welsh people have enjoyed the benefits of commercial television they will be far too conservative to let it go.
We have heard the voice of Scotland and of Wales and I think we ought now to hear the voice of England via Yorkshire. I want particularly to deal with the Amendment which seeks to prevent a second programme from being produced by the commercial television interests.As the Bill stands, it is possible for the I.T.A. to have as many programmes as it desires. Will the Home Secretary tell us how it is possible for that to be done? At present, only two channels are available. How will it be possible to get a series of programmes, or even two programmes, when there is not the space in the appropriate waveband? What is meant by "two programmes"? I agree that it is possible on the two channels available to have the same programmes in London and Birmingham and a different one in Manchester, but that would be all. The Government should accept the Amendment. If technical progress should be such as to make it possible to have a series of programmes, they should be prepared to introduce amending legislation. The only way in which we can have two programmes is by having the broadcasts on Band IV, but the Government have definitely ruled against Band IV because it is largely an experimental Band and they want the B.B.C. to have all the responsibility for carrying out experiments on it. That is entirely wrong and very unfair. No one knows better than the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing) that the B.B.C. proposes to have its second programme on Band IV. How can a commercial interest have two programmes on the channels which have been made available, at great expense to local authorities? The suggestion was made in the Second Report of the Television Advisory Committee that the whole of Band III should be cleared. Do the Government intend to clear Band III and have the second programme on it? That will land them in a terrible dilemma. They will have to remove from that band all the air navigation distance measuring equipment. Look at the cost and the technical complications which will be involved. Look at the change of frequencies which will be entailed in all the apparatus. The taxi-cab drivers of London will have something to say about it, because they are in Band III. So are the newspapers. I am told that the "Daily Mail" and the "News Chronicle" occasionally overhear each other.
Who was the Assistant Postmaster-General when these people were allowed to go into Band III? The hon. Gentleman was the Assistant Postmaster-General when these people were licensed for that Band.
I take a good deal of personal responsibility for it, but I gave a full explanation yesterday. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to that speech and shall not repeat it now in case I transgress the rules of order.I fail to see how two programmes will be possible as things are. We want to know the Government's intentions. Why will the Government not accept the Amendment, which is a practical one and is not put forward carpingly? I hope that we may hear the Government's explanation. I want to make one or two references to the Amendments. It seems to me unfair that in the whole of the sparsely populated areas of the country the development of television should be left to the B.B.C. The position at the moment is that we are to have commercial television which is to be largely in London and Birmingham. As was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), the cream is to be skimmed by the commercial interests. I think that is entirely wrong. Why should Scottish, Welsh and Yorkshire people subscribe 3s. out of their television licences to make up the aggregate of £750,000 so that London and Birmingham should have commercial television? It may be possible that Glasgow can get it. If so, I should like to know how they are to get it. If that problem can be solved, there will be no one more pleased than the technicians. Let us look at the expense. I am sorry that the Assistant Postmaster-General is not here, but we know that he cannot be here all the time, and I sympathise with him in having the Postmaster-General in another place. I believe that the British Post Office have stated that there is no longer any time on the coaxial cables available for commercial interests. That means that the I.T.A. will have to spend a considerable amount of money in constituting radio links between here and Birmingham. So far as radio links exist for the coverage of the North-East coast and Scotland, it may be possible to use those with extra transmitters. To sum up, I think it is unfair that coverage cannot be given in Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire and many other parts of the North of England, and I fail to understand why the Government could not have indicated that they were ready to accept Amendments with regard to the second programme. I shall await with interest the reply of the Home Secretary as to how this can be done. If he can give that assurance, there will be no one more pleased than myself and the technicians.
I shall not join issue with the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson) again on the question of the bands available, because we shall perhaps get a better opportunity later of developing the various arguments in full, without the risk of being called to order.I want to say a brief word about the question of areas which, within the first year or so, may not get the new programme. I am referring particularly to Northern Ireland. It is true that it is unlikely that within the first year from the passing of this Act that there will be a commercial television transmitter in Northern Ireland. It is also true, as argued by hon. Members opposite, that those who pay television licences there will be paying a proportion—a very small proportion—to support the subvention of £750,000 a year to the new television Authority. I want it to go on record that I have always thought that that money should not be given to the new television Authority, and I also want it to go on record that I have thought that, in fact, the new television Authority should never have been given the task of building transmitters.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that he did not expect Northern Ireland to get the alternative television programme within the first year. Can he say when, in fact, he does expect to get it?
The hon. Member flatters me by suggesting that I have some vast, prophetic, technical knowledge which may enable me to tell when this may happen. I have no idea at all. My guess would probably be just as good as his.
What is it?
If the hon. Member wants me to make a guess, I would say the Greek Kalends—I might say the next five or six years. If we take the standard that the B.B.C. set under the administration of hon. Members opposite for the provision of television at all for Northern Ireland, I hope that the commercial people will do better.
The point I was making was that so far as the viewers in Northern Ireland are concerned, I think that the new Authority should not have an annual subvention from the licence revenue, and that the new Authority should not have been given the power of building transmitters.
Why did the hon. and gallant Member vote for it?
I voted for it because it was considered necessary by a number of my hon. Friends, for reasons for which I did not agree, that the new Authority should have these powers in order to control the commercial programmes.I hope that there will be no inhibitions put upon the programme contractors when it comes to the question of expansion. I hope that when it comes to the question of expansion to other areas, it will not be necessary to hold that any further transmitters will have to be provided by the Authority. I hope that the programme contractor may at some time be given power by the Postmaster-General, which he can do, to put up a transmitter independent of the Authority, because in point of fact we do not need a Bill to do that. The Postmaster-General can license persons and companies to put transmitters here and there all over the country without a Bill at all, and I hope that there will not be any inhibitions put upon persons, say, in Wales or Northern Ireland, who want to start a television service of their own without having anything to do with the Authority. I suggest that that is a possibility.
I wish to support this group of Amendments. I should like to say to the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Llewellyn) that there is nothing inconsistent with support for these Amendments on this side of the Committee with the attitude that we have taken all along to commercial television. We have made it perfectly clear that we think it is wrong.The hon. Member for Cardiff, North, said, I think, that we had spoken about the social consequences of commercial television as being wicked. But it is not only members of the Labour Party who have spoken in such terms. Commercial television has been opposed not only by members of the political party, but by many leading members of the churches and other organisations. That is why I support this group of Amendments. If we could get the Minister to accept every one of these Amendments, the Bill would in reality come to nought. [Laughter.] I say it quite openly. As I see it, the commercial concerns who will be using commercial television are not in the least interested in providing a second programme to give a choice to the people. They are not in the least interested even in trying to foster cultural interests in any part of these islands. Their only interest is to increase the profit from their products. If it were possible—I rather think it will be impossible—to have these Amendments accepted, whereby the commercial interests would within a very short time have to provide commercial television coverage for every part of ths islands, it would no longer be a profitable matter for them. This is a matter which concerns not only Scotland and Wales, but Northern Ireland. I was interested in the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) and his reasons for supporting the Bill, although he was against it. If people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have to pay through their licences a certain amount each year to ensure that the commercial concerns will make profits, it is entirely wrong that the people in those areas should not be assured by the Government that within a reasonable time they will have a return for their money. The people of Scotland, for whom I speak, know only too well that in places like the Highlands and the remotest parts of the Islands, there is simply no possibility for a long time, if ever, of getting a second television programme through this method. I should say the same for places that are not as remote. It may be possible that places like Glasgow and the big industrial areas outside the city will eventually be covered, but we do not know how long the people will have to wait even there. I am hoping that on our later Amendments something will be written into the Bill, even if we are not successful with the present group of Amendments, to ensure that the commercial interests are not allowed great licence. I hope that the Home Secretary will answer the questions which my hon. Friends have raised. Scots, like the Welsh, dislike very much to have money taken from their pockets and to get nothing whatever in return.
I should not like it to be thought that it is only Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland that will not get a commercial television programme within a reasonable time. I have tried hard recently to ascertain what will be the radius of the television station that is to be set up in London. As far as I can see, it is likely to be a radius of about 25 miles. Therefore, I and many hon. Members on both sides are deeply concerned about what will happen for the thickly populated area of Brighton and the South Coast generally.I should like to know whether the Authority will be empowered to set up a booster to pick up the programme from London and radiate it along the fringe areas. We must, however, be reasonable. Quite obviously, when this thing is in its infancy, there are bound to be heartaches among those who live in fringe areas, whether on the South Coast or in the nearer part of the Midlands. I have in mind especially the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison): In line 15, at end, insert:
I feel that people living in fringe areas will, as the British always are, be quite reasonable in waiting for television to reach them. Indeed, I am sure that the people of Brighton and on the South Coast will be extremely reasonable. They were reasonable for a long time until my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General set up a booster two years ago to give them reception, and they will continue to be reasonable. But I do not think they will continue to be reasonable if the commercial television station in London is permitted to transmit two programmes before there has been national coverage throughout as much of Great Britain as can possibly be covered within the quickest possible time. I shall be grateful, therefore, if my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary will give good reasons for not accepting the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South. On the face of it, it seems to be a reasonable Amendment. The people living in fringe areas, and, indeed, those in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will be very angry if London, which, in my opinion, is always over-favoured in all matters and is highly pampered and greatly spoiled, is to be allowed to have two commercial television programmes before other areas are covered. I shall listen most carefully to my right hon. and learned Friend's reply. The Amendment in line 15 commends itself to me.Provided that the Authority shall so exercise their said functions as to provide as soon as possible such services as aforesaid for the whole of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands and, until they have so provided, shall not broadcast more than one programme from any one of their stations.
I am interested in the hon. Member's show of Brighton nationalism and his rather qualified support for my right hon. Friend's Amendment. Would he support the same case for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales?
I hope I have made it clear that, obviously, it would be a longer time before those areas are reached, but I would say definitely that, on the face of it, and not having heard my right hon. and learned Friend's reply, most certainly it would be grossly unfair for London to have two commercial television programmes before Ireland, Scotland and Wales—and Sussex and the other fringe areas—get their own commercial television programme.
I was interested in the last observation of the hon. Member for Kemptown (Mr. H. Johnson), because large parts of Wales have still to be provided with one television programme. Indeed, people in my constituency still await the provision of an adequate sound service. Large parts of the county of Cardigan still do not receive an adequate Home Service programme through the present arrangements. I am sure that my constituents would regard it as over-ambitious now to advocate a second television programme when they still await a service on sound radio and one television programme. I support these Amendments, particularly the one relating to Wales. I do not think it would be right to make a claim for Wales which I was not prepared to concede to other parts of the United Kingdom, although I maintain that the claims of Wales in this respect are somewhat unique.6.0 p.m. The reason why I support these Amendments is because I am interested in the preservation of the Welsh language. Those of us concerned with that subject are deeply concerned about the effect which the development of television programmes will have upon our language. This Government and the last were pledged to the maintenance of a policy of bilingualism in Wales. The Minister of Education has laid it down that her policy for Welsh education is to establish a full-blooded policy of bilingualism, and it would be incongruous if that policy were to be pursued in education and no adequate provision were made for the Welsh language in the field of sound broadcasting and television. I have no illusions on this point. I do not believe for a moment that the people who will control commercial television programmes will show much consideration for the Welsh language. I am not necessarily criticising them for that, because they will have to look at it from a commercial point of view and from the point of view of the extent of their audiences. I do not think that, under these circumstances, the Welsh language will have a great appeal. The whole problem in connection with the Welsh language is the competing and conflicting claims upon time in and money for programmes. I believe that if there was an alternative programme in Wales and if the time and money now given over by the B.B.C. particularly to light entertainment could be provided for by that second programme, the B.B.C. would have less excuse than ever for not devoting time and money to programmes relating to Wales and the Welsh language. All that we who are interested in the preservation of the Welsh language ask for is fair play in so far as this medium of expression is concerned. If we are given it, then we have no fears as to the future of our language, but if we are to have only one television programme and that broadcasting almost entirely in English, it is going to put those of us who are interested in the preservation of the Welsh language in a most unfair position. I should like to see an alternative programme, which would provide amongst other things the light entertainment in English thus enabling the B.B.C. to give more adequate consideration to programmes of particular interest to those supporting the preservation of Welsh culture.
I do not think I am a starter in the Kemptown Races. Scotland and Wales are doing pretty well, but the promising little native foal is not quite certain whether it is going to start or not. I do not think I should take any part.We have been putting before the Government a very fine selection of Amendments to improve the Bill, but I believe the trouble is that we offer too nice a selection. I will start at the beginning and take two samples, putting them to the professional conscience of the Home Secretary. He will be aware that we are still considering the first sentence in this Bill. We have so far found a number of words which he can defend only because they have been used before; but the words at the end of this Clause are pretty unreasonable, and they are unreasonable because the Bill itself and the whole of the Government's project is unreasonable. The words are these:
That is the function of the Authority. The words do not lay any imperative duty upon the Authority, and the Home Secretary yesterday refused to accept any time limit as to when it should do it other than such time limit as is implied in the 10 years. It is a question of what it ought to do. What do these words mean? What is the meaning of "reasonably practicable"? I suggest that the simplest way out of the confusion is to leave these words out and to put on this competing Authority—for that is what the Government proudly claim it to be—the obligation that rests on the B.B.C. to provide services in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. We know there are parts of the United Kingdom where it is unlikely that there will be television, but what we object to is the implication in these words "reasonably practicable." They do not mean "technically possible" and that is not what is intended. Let me tell the Committee what I am afraid they mean—and I only hope that the Government's supporters, including the Home Secretary, are going to disillusion me. I think that what they mean is: "… as may from time to time be profitable to the programme contractors and advertisers." I do not see what else they can mean. If they do mean anything else, I should like to know what it is. I should like to reply to the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Llewellyn), who has now left the Committee—but that is not my fault. He said that as we on this side of the Committee regarded this scheme of commercial television as a social iniquity, why should we want to spread it to Wales? But that it is a social iniquity very largely depends on the fact that it is going to be a commercial undertaking run for private profit and entirely destitute of any idea whatsoever of public service. What we are trying to do is to give it some element of public service to prevent it from being what at present it looks like being, namely, an undertaking to give wholly unlimited profits to a particular section of the community in the sacred name of commercial competition. What is it that the party opposite justify in the name of commercial competition? I do not want to quote again the well-known words of the Prime Minister in his murky past, but the long history of the Tory Party shows that every social and other iniquity has from time to time been perpetrated and vindicated in the name of commercial competition. Here is just another one, and these words show it up. What do they mean? What is the point of putting in "reasonably practicable"? How are we to decide what it is? What other possible standard is there, having regard to the rest of the Bill and having regard to the line the Government have taken about it, than the same standard of profit to the programme contractors and the advertisers? Here we are being asked to sell ourselves, to sell our constituents, and to hand over a bit of public money into the bargain, to this private interest. Why should we do it? If we are to be driven as we are now—for this Bill has had its Second Reading—into having something of the kind, it is for us to see that what is provided has a proper element of service in it. I thought that the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) in relating what he said specifically to Scotland, had the real point. The difference between the two sides of the Committee is this: hon. Members opposite say that they will provide services in the thick areas of population where the advertised products can be sold—because this is what it is all about—and we say that if we are to have this thing at all, if we are to bring in the programme contractors and the advertising agents—not to mention all the shabby gentlemen who come into the Post Office for lunch, about whom we heard yesterday—if we are to bring in all that queer collection of scallywags, let us at any rate see that what they are allowed to do is something that might conceivably be a public service. The essential difference between a public service and a new form of commercial exploitation is simply that if it is a public service, we try to provide it—I do not say we try very hard but we do try, even this Government—for all the population. Here is the test of the intentions of the Government. Will they confine themselves to what pays? Will they confine their services to where the goods can best be sold? Will they verge towards that form of wholly unbridled commercialism which at present appears to be prevalent in County Down, where services are put up all over the place in the hope of getting a licence afterwards? Will they go back to the jungle that way, or use it, to some extent at any rate, to cater for the whole country? If they refuse this simple Amendment, they will put into the Bill an obscure set of words at the end of this Clause with only one object, to be able to say afterwards, "Ah, we only said what was reasonably practicable and, of course, we mean reasonably practicable from the point of view of the people primarily concerned. They are the programme contractors, the advertising agents and the rest of them, whose funds will keep the programme contractors and the programmes going." That is the test. I shall be interested to see what they say about it and what meaning the Home Secretary, who is, after all, pretty good at words, will put to "reasonably practicable.""… for so much of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as may from time to time be reasonably practicable."
This series of Amendments is remarkable in one respect. The hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) tried to explain the Amendment which relates to the extension of this service to Scotland. As it appears to me, throughout yesterday and today we have been listening to accounts of the assumed evil of these programmes. The third Amendment merely says, "Let us have a bit of this evil in Scotland and, what is more, let us have it within six months." The fourth Amendment similarly says, "This is an evil, but they must not have it all in London. Let us have a bit of it in Wales, and let us have it there in six months."6.15 p.m. I always find it hard to oppose any Amendment designed to bring anything reasonably into Wales, but the wording of this Amendment is unreasonable. That would appear to apply to the third and fourth of these Amendments because the third—which says:
would merely leave for the new and untried service the worst part of the country. The Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) would insist that the whole of the United Kingdom should be covered before there are two programmes or any other station. I should imagine that there are parts of the United Kingdom which can never be properly covered and which will never have effective television services. We must realise that this new service will probably find it as difficult in its teething stage as did the B.B.C. when it first started a television service. Its first steps were halting. We had to wait a long time before the service was extended to a part of Wales—"not be covered by the said services of the British Broadcasting Corporation"—
Yes, 17 years, and in no sense is there what might be described as a Welsh television service now. We have merely a station through Wenvoe in part and another station in the North which transmits the programmes put over for national coverage. In no sense, therefore, have we anything which can be described as a Welsh television service. If the B.B.C. has taken so long to provide even some transmission of the national service into part of Wales, would it not be unreasonable for us now to say that the new Authority must, within six months, provide a Welsh service? On that basis I think that these Amendments are as unreasonable as they appear to many of us to be.
I was interested to hear what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) said, because he has divided the two approaches to this question of television very neatly. The hon. Gentle man said that the B.B.C. has only recently reached Wales and the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing) said that it took 17 years. I hope he will get to his feet so that it will get into HANSARD—
If the hon. Gentleman had been present yesterday, he would realise that it is already in HANSARD.
If it is in HANSARD already, I fail to see anything, other than a passion for publicity, which leads the hon. Gentleman to repeat it frequently. At any rate we knew that the B.B.C. took a long time to get to Wales, but Welsh Members would have had a legitimate grievance if, before television reached Wales, there had been two or three television programmes in London or even more, as might have been practicable. However, the B.B.C. work on the simple principle that they must give what they have to as many people as possible before starting an alternative programme, and that is exactly our argument.Let me deal briefly with the suggestion made that, because this is evil, it is ludicrous that we should argue that it ought to be extended. The simple answer is that one of the reasons why we think that commercial television is not evil, but is not a good thing, is that it does not do these various things. It does not give variety of programme. Therefore, we have tried in our Amendment to give variety to the programme. We have argued that it does not give national coverage and does not give high quality. All these Amendments are an intention to try to replace what is normally an unsatisfactory commercial feature with something satisfactory. The interest of this Amendment is that it divides hon. Gentlemen opposite into two groups of clearly definable people. There are those—and I hope and believe that the Home Secretary is one—who support this Bill because they do not like monopoly in television. I am with them in this and I have said so previously. I think it is a thoroughly bad thing that television should be left to one Authority. On the other hand, there are others opposite who do not much care whether the principle of monopoly is maintained or not, but see in television the opportunity to make a little money. This Amendment divides them because, if one believes, as the Home Secretary does, that it is bad to have a monopoly, then there must be competition with the B.B.C. in every part of the country before having a third programme. When there are commercial programmes in London, Birmingham and Manchester and the Home Secretary is asked, say, by the Authority, "Shall we go on and watch the B.B.C. pushing out its pernicious monopolistic stuff unchallenged in the north of Scotland, or shall we have another programme in London?" The instant response of the Home Secretary ought to be, "Search out monopoly wherever possible and provide fair and adequate competition to it." This is exactly what this Amendment does, and I support it because I believe that the people in Wales who are just getting the B.B.C. ought to have an opportunity of having another programme put before them. If one is not sincere about breaking the monopoly, one comes down on this "reasonably practicable" argument which, of course, is the commercial argument. It is no surprise to us and I hope that the Home Secretary will not try it on. This is a perfectly straight commercial argument and if one runs the new service on that basis there will never be as good a television coverage as the B.B.C. has provided up to now. Therefore, at this stage let us try to divide ourselves up sincerely. There are those on the other side of the Committee who believe that we should break the monopoly and provide an alternative service. I am with them entirely as far as my Whips will allow—and if I can find out who they are. But if there are those of that mind on the other side of the Committee, they ought to come out now and again against the commercial group who have pushed this proposal from the start, otherwise we shall not believe that the Home Secretary is really echoing the words of John Milton, who was quoted for support by the Lord Chancellor, but we shall believe that he is at the head of the bandwagon which is being pushed very hard by people on the benches behind him. I hope, therefore, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will give a satisfactory answer to this question of breaking a monopoly wherever it is found, which includes the distant parts of the country.
I cannot imagine a more inspiring start for my poor contribution than the admirable question and suggestion of the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn). I hope that I shall be able to answer his point, but I have been a little worried about one or two points in the speeches, to which I have listened carefully, in which one or two hon. Members opposite have said that they support all the Amendments that we are discussing. I should like to remind the Committee what those Amendments are. The effect of the first two is to lay on the new Authority the obligation to provide a coverage for the whole of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
With great respect, that is not correct. Do they not simply lay down the Authority's function?
I think that they lay down the function, but on the assumption that, having that function, the Authority will carry it out. That at least has been the theme of speeches this afternoon, including that of the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) himself.
An unenforceable obligation.
We all listened with great care and pleasure to the hon. and learned Member and I am sure that he will allow me to develop what is a perfectly fair point. The first Amendment, to use words that will not offend the hon. and learned Member, certainly deals with responsibility to provide coverage for the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) seeks to restrict the operations of the Authority to areas that are not covered by the B.B.C.
On a point of order. The Home Secretary is discussing an Amendment which has not been called. The Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) was not selected.
That is one of the Amendments that are being dealt with.
I apologise. I am very sorry.
These things happen in the best regulated minds.Then we have an Amendment to provide that until the new Authority covers the whole country it should not be permitted to provide a second programme. That Amendment is honourably associated with the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson). The fifth and sixth Amendments state that within six months there should be a station for Scotland within Scotland and for Wales within Wales. I take it from the discussion that no one is supporting in words—or no one has so far supported in words—the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East. But if no one has supported it in words, the real tenor of the supporting speakers for these Amendments as a group has been to that effect. Few hon. Members concealed that fact very skilfully, and the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) was quite clear in her words that if these Amendments were approved by the Committee then, in her opinion, the Bill would not work and would fall. Therefore, although the wording of the Amendments is slightly different, the support is really in the sense of the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East, which would confine the operations of the Authority to whatever remote percentage of the country is left after the B.B.C. has provided its coverage. I do not complain that hon. Members have made their demonstration, but now that it has been made and since it is a demonstration, and the hon. Lady has made it avowedly a demonstration with no practical result consistent with the life of the Bill, I hope that the Committee will not spend too long on what is clearly a demonstration and not practical action.
I said quite clearly what the result would be if the Amendments were accepted. I wanted to know from the Home Secretary what he thought about them, because if he agrees with what I said, then it is quite clear to my hon. Friends that he is in full support of the commercial interests of this second television programme. That is the only conclusion that we can reach.
I am sure that the hon. Lady will allow me to deal with the points that have been raised. She was frank enough to say, and obviously everyone else who did not say it meant it, that these Amendments were not consistent with the life of the Bill, and in that sense the Amendments have been moved. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) was not here.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman does me an injustice. I was here whilst my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) was speaking. I will go further and say that I think that her words were "if all the Amendments," and so on.
I apologise. I did not see the right hon. Gentleman. At any rate, that makes us even.6.30 p.m. I want now to deal with the points that have been made. The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) made the initial point that it was wrong that anyone should pay for this service through a part of the licence fee if he did not receive a service from the I.T.A. The answer to that is not only the old one, which everyone rejects in the House and so often makes, that the baby is only a little one, that it is a very small percentage of the service. The real answer is that for every growing service—the same applies to sound and television in the B.B.C.—there has been a period when the payer of a licence fee has been paying not only for what he or she was receiving or not receiving at the moment, but for the general development of the service. That applies with equal force to this proposal before the Committee. The second point of the argument of the hon. Member for Dundee, East depended on the premise that there would be a rise in prices due to additional advertising. That, I submit, is an entire fallacy. Time and again it has been shown that additional advertising has not had the result of raising, but of substantially—and sometimes dramatically—reducing prices—
Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman allow me—
No, I cannot give way again. I have given way four times already and I must be allowed to develop my argument. If the hon. Member for Dundee, East was so anxious to hear a reply, he would have been here himself.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman should not say that, as my hon. Friend has a very important meeting.
I cannot time my replies according to the meetings which are necessary to solve the difficulties of hon. Members opposite.I now turn to the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White). I think it is fair to say that she adopted the arguments of the hon. Member for Dundee, East and, with great good humour, she wanted to twist the tail of the Minister for Welsh Affairs in regard to this Amendment. I do not blame her for that intention. I have put the general arguments which have been made before, but I want the hon. Lady to appreciate that this Amendment is intended to put responsibility on the new Authority to do something which the B.B.C. has never been called upon to do, and has never succeeded in doing. I do not want to make any false point, but the position is that when the new capital expenditure fructifies in the case of the B.B.C. and the total results are obtained, there will be a coverage of some 97 per cent. of the country—that is, at the end of the time. I do not think anyone quarrels with that. I answer the expectation and hope of myself and, I think, the majority of people who think like me on this issue. I want to see the Authority securing the largest coverage possible at the earliest possible date. That is what we desire. I want to be quite right, because the hon. Member for Keighley would desire that. There may be a slight difference, as the hon. Member will agree, owing to the extra bands that the B.B.C. has. It would always be given a small improvement in the percentage, but there would not be a very great difference. I put this quite seriously to the hon. Lady and to the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East, who has spoken so frankly. If we accept the desire to break the monopoly, to me that postulates two things: one, a second programme, and, two, that that second programme should be given by an independent body. To my mind these are the minima for breaking the monopoly. When I said a second programme, I meant a second, alternative, programme. By this procedure we are setting up an Authority which, through the programme contractors, will provide three alternative programmes. We believe that it will require time to grow. I do not think anyone can give an exact estimate of what will be possible immediately the three stations begin to operate, but I am told that a reasonable hope and expectation is more than the figure of 55 per cent. that has been mentioned, and I see no reason why that should not grow. The point I put to the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East is that, if we start from the same premise that the monopoly should be broken, does not equity come in and demand that the new functioning organisation should have a fair chance and should not be at once reined and bridled with conditions which no fair-minded person would ever put on a new body taking up the task? I am paying the hon. Member the compliment of speaking to him seriously and with complete sincerity and I hope he will believe that, whether he agrees with me or not. That is what I am asking him to do and to consider as being a view perfectly tenable by those who hope to see the extension as wide as possible.
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but would he not agree that, if the general public are asked to subsidise this new child before it is profitable, the new child should be willing to subsidise national coverage before that is profitable?
I do not think it can be simplified so far as that. I think it is necessary for the new child to get going—
To make a profit.
I quite agree and I am much obliged for the interruption—so that out of the profits and success it can grow naturally and give the coverage. It is easy to be flippant, but I thought the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East was putting the point seriously to me. I do not think that one ought to put on a body which has to grow out of its own success an obligation at an early time which might be very reasonably thought to be destructive of that success. I do not for a moment envisage that there will be an artificial barrier to the area of expansion. I believe that the general success demanded will stir the new Authority to take that course. When one considers that not only is something demanded which has never been demanded of the B.B.C.—
It is a public service.
Really, if the right hon. Gentleman would allow me to develop my argument, I should be grateful. I am trying to answer a series of speeches, and it is difficult to do so if a Privy Councillor on the Opposition Front Bench interrupts, because one does want—
You are very touchy tonight. It is frequently done by hon. Members on the other side of the Committee.
I have not said a word.
On a point of order. I should be sorry, Sir Charles, if you took my interjection to refer to yourself, I was addressing the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary.
If the hon. Member would address the Chair, there would be no mistake.
Do I take it from your rebuke, Sir Charles, that interjections are entirely out of order?
I did not say that. Someone said that I had done something, and I said that I had not.
I will endeavour not to transgress.I was making the point that this obligation has never been laid upon the B.B.C. I want to emphasise that here the obligation is not only to ensure national coverage, but to erect transmitting stations in Wales and Scotland within six months. From the point of view of cost and everything else, that is not a reasonable suggestion. I put it to the Committee that it is an unreasonable demand. I have tried very hard to understand and to acquire the knowledge necessary to reply to the very interesting speech of the hon. Member for Keighley. I do not think I can give him much more assistance than he will obtain from paragraph 5 of the last White Paper. It may well be that some of the stations may have to have a limited range or to make an inter-network agreement in the initial period. I think that is the effect of the paragraph, but I understand that we shall have other opportunities to discuss it more fully. The hon. and learned Member for Kettering drew attention to the last words of the subsection:
I read that as meaning as much as they reasonably could. I think the difference between the hon. and learned Gentleman and myself regarding the interpretation of these words arises because he applies a subjective test of reasonability, namely, reasonability in the view of the Authority according to the financial position of the programme companies. I respectfully disagree with him and suggest that "reasonably practicable" is an objective test, and that the Authority must apply it taking into account what it thinks is a reasonable expenditure of capital and devotion of income according to the period and the needs of the organisation as a whole. In that way I believe the decision must be for the Authority according to the general test of reasonableness, which is what benefits the public interest. I am sorry that I have delayed the Committee so long. I am sorry, too, if I appeared to lose my temper. It was only because I was trying hard to deal with one point at the moment when the right hon. Gentleman diverted me. As the Committee will know, I have no desire to lose my temper, and I hope that I shall be forgiven if I appeared to do so for a moment. I have tried to answer the points which have been made and I hope that, after the long and interesting discussion which we have had, and after further intimation from the Opposition Front Bench, the Committee will be prepared to come to a decision."so much of the United Kingdom… as may from time to time be reasonably practicable."
Because my right hon. and learned Friend is well known for his great courtesy and helpfulness. I think it must be an oversight on his part that he has not replied to the question asked by several hon. Members with regard to the transmission of a second programme from commercial television stations for other fringe areas. Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland at least will receive one transmission.
I am sorry if I missed out my hon. Friend the Member for Kemptown (Mr. H. Johnson), but I thought I covered the point in the general thesis I was advancing that the new Authority should increase its coverage as quickly as possible. I did not mean that that should be limited to Scotland or Wales, but that it should apply generally. My hon. Friend knows the difficulties which exist even with regard to the B.B.C. and the booster and the new Isle of Wight station, but obviously it is a matter which the Authority would have to consider generally.
But is not the right hon. Gentleman going to prohibit the I.T.A. from transmitting two commercial programmes in London?
I am afraid I cannot add anything to the answer I have given.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has tried to lubricate the passage of his Bill with his usual good humour and courtesy, but it is quite obvious from his failure to answer the hon. Member for Brighton that in defending the Bill he is up against great difficulties. It is a purely selfish Bill designed to bring profit to the highly populated City of London while the rest of the country can go "phut." There is not the slightest doubt about that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has done his best to get round the point, but he has failed to answer the hon. Member for Brighton. Indeed, the hon. Member for Brighton in his earlier speech—
I represent Kemptown.
I gathered that the hon. Gentleman was speaking for Brighton and the area round about.In his earlier speech he aroused some sympathy when he put the point that there were people in Scotland who had doubts about whether this was a serious Amendment. Someone suggested that we were anxious to extend an evil to Scotland. So far as I know the opinion in Scotland, the Churches and the educational interests, and people who are interested in television from the highest of motives, are against commercial television because of the debasement it brings to the purposes which can be achieved by television. The introduction of advertising would take away some of the very limited amount of time available for educational and cultural matters which cannot be replaced or multiplied. It would be a monopoly, not in the sense of one organisation having control, but because any time taken for commercial television is automatically robbing the time which could be devoted to such services. It is my belief that television will be one of the greatest educational mediums in the future. It is not yet being developed and this will have the effect, so to speak, of robbing that medium before it is born. If it does not prevent the actual possibility of the birth of such a medium it will prevent its growth. That is a most dangerous thing. I must confess that the majority of the people in Scotland are indifferent at the moment, probably because they have not got television sets and, therefore, for them this is an academic argument. This is not a question of establishing good or evil. It is a question of using capital equipment to establish stations in different parts of the country. It is like the atom bomb. People might object to the atom bomb and to atomic energy, but, while the atom bomb can do tremendous damage, atomic energy is the hope of the future for the production of power.
What about the hydrogen bomb?
It is quite possible that the hydrogen bomb will in time produce a form of power more useful to the economy even than atomic energy. Unfortunately, science can be used for evil as well as for good. We have to look at the capital expenditure not from the point of view of the evil that it might do under commercial television, but from the point of view that that commercial capital which is being expended in the erection of stations can also be used for good. A future Government may eventually use the stations for a better purpose.It is on these grounds that we say that there should not be a monopoly in London. One of the objections is that it is difficult to pay for these stations and that they must be paid for out of profits. That is true, but the profits will not be subscribed only by the people of London. They will be subscribed from all over the country. It has been objected that an alternative station would put a tremendous burden on either the licence holder or the taxpayer, but it is the taxpayer who will pay for the commercial stations. The taxation will not be imposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the ground of public policy. It will be imposed by private individuals as a purchase tax on the goods sold in the shops. Therefore, this is a measure of private taxation. The only reason why it is supported by hon. Gentlemen opposite is that they are to get a rake off. There is to be a rake off to the people interested in commercial television. They are anxious to have it not because it will be a benefit to the public, but because it will be a source almost of blackmail of the public—forcing them to pay taxation, only part of which will go for the provision of any service.
As I understand, the right hon. Gentleman says that, in some way or another, the fact that the money will be paid out of licence fees and taxation means that somebody, some private concern, will get a rake off. How does he account for the fact that private enterprise has never wanted this and has always resisted it? Can the right hon. Gentleman explain?
It all depends upon whether one regards the advertising agents and the people who are to run this affair as private enterprise. They may not be called private enterprise, but they have been boosted in this Committee as private enterprise. The commercial people will have the rake off. I heard Lord Moyne say so in another place. He said, "I do not want this, but if it is introduced Guinness's stout will have to be advertised on it and we will have to put it on the cost of the beer. The customer will have to pay."
I did not hear the speech, but I do not think that the noble Lord said that they would have to put it on the cost of the beer.
Lord Moyne was also grumbling that the advertising agents would take the cost out of his funds without his getting anything in return. In other words, he said that he would be forced by competition to advertise and to spend money, and that that money would be a complete loss to the community and certainly to Guinness's. He objected to being forced into this expenditure.It is a great mistake to have all this duplication until the services can be extended. As a matter of fact, television has only a very limited source from which to draw for its entertainment and education. Instead of spreading that supply over two or three stations, all competing from the same limited supply of talent, it would be better to expend the capital in extending the field from which to draw education and entertainment not only to the Continent but perhaps throughout the world. Also, the service should be extended to every part of the country. That would be a much wiser way, but the Government have decided to force the Bill through Parliament. One of the main objections of Scotland to the Bill is that it is carrying on a tendency which is destroying the balance of population. Merely because of the conglomeration of people in London every service that is established comes to London. Television makes London more attractive. More people want to live there and, because more people live in London, more people want to have shops and light industries in London and we have to have more houses for them. London is growing like a great octopus. The Labour Government, in their public planning, tried to stop this tendency, but one cannot automatically disperse the population. They tried to stop it growing. One of the things that must be done to stop the population growing is to place these attractions in Scotland, Wales and the rural areas. Eventually, television will be one of the great instruments for persuading people to stay in the countryside. Instead of attracting them to London it ought to be attracting them to the countryside. Even if at first it does not bring great profits to commercial television, the station ought to be placed in the countryside. This shows the disadvantage of having an economic basis for all these progressive measures. London gets bridges because there is a great population. Scotland cannot get a Forth Road Bridge although it would link up the Great North Road from the south to the north of the country. Scotland and Wales cannot get any amenities, simply because London has a great population. London is the great, bloated office boy of the Empire. The clerks and administrators in London must get all the advantages, and the people who do the work in the rural parts of the country, the people who produce the wealth that keeps London, get no amenities at all. The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) does not seem to want any amenities for Northern Ireland. The unemployed will have to leave Northern Ireland to come to London to try to get jobs and amenities which Ireland cannot provide.
On a point of order. I should like to take up this point with the right hon. Gentleman at a later stage, but might I inquire whether he is in order now in developing an argument about unemployment in Northern Ireland?
That is not a point of order. If the right hon. Gentleman was not in order, I should stop him.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows that if economics are to decide, people will be brought to London, and Northern Ireland will be depopulated, as Scotland is being depopulated, by this conglomeration around London.It is sheer madness that the Government should be spending millions of pounds to try to defend the country while building up a population in London that makes a target which, if destroyed, would destroy the whole economy of the country. That would happen if an atomic bomb or a hydrogen bomb fell on London. Even from the point of view of national policy the population ought to be dispersed. I suggest that the Highlands, Ireland and Wales would be ideal places, because bombs would not do nearly so much damage among the mountains. This Bill is just another of the tendencies to cater for and pander to the overgrown population of London, giving it every possible advantage. Sooner or later, the Government will have to think about this matter and they will realise that economic profit is not the way which will enable the country to progress. Unless we have some social purpose in what we do the country will destroy itself by this continual running after profit, for it will bring about its own destruction in the long run. We object to the proposal not only because we shall be paying for something which we shall not get, but also because this is a continuation of something which is disturbing and destroying the proper balance of our population. Our purpose should be the reverse; it should be to build the stations where we can attract people back to the countryside, where they will be able to produce wealth instead of consuming it.
I should be grateful for the Home Secretary's patience, which has been very noticeable during the debate, while I attempt to sum up what seems to me to be the Government's attitude to the development of competitive television services for the less populated areas. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not accept the view of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) that it will not be until the Greek Kalends that Northern Ireland will get commercial television. If the hon. and gallant Member does not know what the Greek Kalends are, I am sure that his right hon. and learned Friend will tell him.I am sure that "never" is not in the Home Secretary's vocabulary, but it appears—I am anxious to be as fair as I can be—that the Government do not contemplate putting any obligation upon the new alternative system to provide coverage for at least the greater part of the country. I am not arguing on the wording of particular Amendments. If we could get agreement on the substance of what we seek, I am sure that my hon. Friend would consider withdrawing the Amendment. What we seek is clear and simple. We know what has happened in other countries. New York has a choice of 15 programmes but many states there have no television service at all. About 40 per cent. of the population of America have no television programme. I know that there may be reasons of range and so on for that, but it seems wrong that a thickly populated area, whether London or New York, should have a choice of several services while parts of the country are far worse served. I suggest that we should try to arrive at an agreement about this and that similar obligations should be imposed upon both the B.B.C. and the new commercial system. We should determine that, as a minimum, the commercial system and the B.B.C. shall not be permitted to develop an alternative service until an agreed proportion of the country is provided with its first service. I do not know what the figure should be, whether it should be 80 per cent. or 90 per cent.—there will be certain areas where there will be great difficulties—but this seems to be elementary justice. In view of what my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) has said about the desirability of establishing competitive services, this seems to me to be consistent with the Government's declared aims. I appreciate the difficulties if this is to be dependent upon profit. I am not saying this in an aggressive sense, for I realise that there is difficulty, but it seems to me reasonable that, in return for the facilities and concessions which we give them, the commercial companies should accept certain obligations. Leaving aside the wording of the Amendments, it is clear that their purpose is that an obligation should be laid upon the commercial companies, not in the vague terms of the Bill, but in precise terms. If the Government would be prepared to consider it, the necessary provision could be inserted in the Bill at a later stage. I hope that the Home Secretary will think that this is a fair and reasonable suggestion and will consider it.
The case of the Government and, in particular, of the Home Secretary, who unlike some members of the Government has a conscience about these matters and is concerned to proclaim the serious purpose of the Bill all the time, is that their purpose is to ensure that the people of the country are provided with an alternative television service.
By an independent body.
Yes, the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to break the monopoly of the B.B.C. and to provide the people of the country with an alternative service.The purpose of the Amendment, to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman did rather scant justice, is to ascertain how far the implied undertaking of the Government will be realised in practice and how far our people will get an alternative television service as a result of the Bill. What we have been told has been unsatisfactory but, at the same time, illuminating. The Home Secretary thought that when the new stations under the Authority were established, the coverage might be 55 per cent. or a little more. It is clear that nearly half the population will not be covered. That half of the population will be situated not only in large parts of Scotland and Wales but also in large parts of England. The hon. Member for Kemptown (Mr. H. Johnson) is concerned about his part of England. Other parts of England ought to know what their fate will be. To what extent will south-west England get an alternative service under the Bill? To what extent will East Anglia and Lincolnshire get an alternative service? What are the chances for north-east England and for Cumberland? It seems to me that their chances are very small indeed. Our people are being asked to contribute in three ways towards the establishment of the service, and they ought to know what they are paying for and whether they will get any return for what they pay. Nearly half the people will have to pay in three ways for something from which they will get no return whatsoever. The people will have to pay through the general national taxation to the initial grant of £2 million for capital expenditure. Perhaps "grant" is an improper word. The Treasury may hope at some very distant date to get back some of the money, but, having seen the example of the National Film Finance Corporation, I am not sure that we can be very optimistic about money going back into the national Exchequer at an early date. For the time being at least, the taxpayers will be making a contribution to the Authority. All the licence holders—not only the 55 per cent. who will be able to enjoy an alternative service, but also the 45 per cent. who will not—will make their contribution to the £750,000 a year which is to be given to the Authority. Also, all consumers will have to make their contribution towards the costs of the advertising agencies and the firms which advertise on this service. I hope that no one will suggest that the costs of advertising are not a part of the costs of production of the firms concerned. Therefore, the public will pay in three ways, and nearly half of them will get nothing for it. If this debate has established nothing else, it has at least made clear to the people of this country that what the Government offer to them is rather less than half a loaf, for which they will have to pay for rather more than the whole.
One thing we can say about the Home Secretary is that, generally, he tries to give an honest and sincere answer to the points that are put to him, and I rather regretted today that the right hon. and learned Gentleman found himself in a position in which he just could not do it. He is not a very artful dodger; indeed, we might even christen him the unartful dodger.When the hon. Member for Kemptown (Mr. H. Johnson) put a categorical question to him, which could and should have been answered, and which the country and those interested in the development of an Independent Television Authority would like to have answered, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he had nothing to add. Surely, out of fairness to the rest of the country, which will be paying for this new venture in some measure—indeed, as one of my hon. Friends said, to a great extent—it cannot be right that in London there should be two or three alternative programmes when other parts of the country will be denied even a single programme. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was asked that question, and he refused to answer it, and, thereby, he went down considerably in my estimation. I know that he will rise again, and I blame the Government more than the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I also thought that the Home Secretary was unfair when he talked of a conflict in this group of Amendments. If he would prefer us to take our Amendments one at a time, we will gladly do so, but we grouped these Amendments to assist the Government and speed the passage of the Bill. Simply because an hon. Member has put down an Amendment which differs from some others, it should not be open to the right hon. and learned Gentleman to talk about a certain amount of conflict. I think hon. Gentlemen opposite were right to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that here we seem to be supporting commercial television and to want it in Scotland, whereas, earlier, we had been stressing our fears of the evils implicit in it. That is seemingly true, but the important fact is that, if the Government will accept this Amendment, then I am quite sure they will accept all our other Amendments, and if they do that throughout the Committee stage, it will completely transform this Bill and certainly mitigate many of the evils about which we have spoken. It was for that reason that we put down these Amendments, but, judging by the reception they have received from the Home Secretary, I do not think the Government will accept them. When we asked when we were to get an alternative programme for the whole country, and when we protested that we should really be paying for a service which we were not receiving, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, very unconvincingly, that it would be for only a short time. Is he so sure about that? He said that he expects 50 per cent. coverage.
No. I said I thought they would start with more than the 55 per cent. that had been suggested. I said I had not got any exact estimate, but that the 55 per cent. was lower than what we believe will be the figure.
It will start about that, but that is no great consolation to the people of Scotland, and, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman adds 25 per cent. on to that, it probably would still not bring in a single Scot at all. It depends entirely on who will control the expense; and it certainly will not be the Home Secretary.Then, the Home Secretary said that he was not prepared to put on the Independent Television Authority an obligation which did not lie on the B.B.C. There may not be a statutory obligation on the B.B.C. to cover the whole country, but, certainly, the B.B.C. has accepted that obligation. It has accepted it at the request of this House, and I have heard one Assistant Postmaster-General after another proclaim this very thing in this House. 7.15 p.m. Where are all the Scottish Conservatives? Where is the noble Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir)? Surely, the Assistant Postmaster-General remembers the Question which she put to him before the Coronation, insisting that Aberdeen must get a transmitter. Where is the noble Lady today? Is she appealing for the people of Aberdeen? Where are all the other hon. Members from the North-East of England, who used to put the same question? They have been conspicuous by their silence. [An HON. MEMBER: "Wait a bit."] Well, I have been waiting for several hours, and the hon. Gentleman has had plenty of opportunity. The Home Secretary was very weak in his argument in this respect. This is the time when we should be putting these obligations on the Independent Television Authority. After all, what was the proclamation of hon. Gentlemen opposite? It was that the country needed an alternative service, and ought not to rely on the B.B.C. It was suggested that it would take the B.B.C. a long time and that it would be very expensive, and that the right way to do it was to set up commercial television. That would give an alternative service. Now we learn from the Home Secretary that we are not to get a national alternative programme at once. Indeed, there was no indication in his speech that we shall ever get it at all, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows it. I do not think it should be the Home Secretary who should be replying to the debate on these Amendments. We have a Cabinet Minister who is responsible for one of the countries affected by this proposal. The right hon. Gentleman looked into the House for a few fleeting minutes, but, for some reason, he flitted away and left a junior Under-Secretary of State for Scotland with a watching brief. Really, we have a Minister who is responsible for Scotland. We have also a Minister of State and three Joint Undersecretaries, and yet it is the poor Minister for Welsh Affairs who is left with the whole burden. It may be because he is a Scotsman; I do not know. What we have been trying to do in these Amendments is to put into the Bill what hon. Gentlemen opposite have been saying, and to remove what to my mind is a blemish. The Bill states that there shall be an obligation on the Independent Television Authority to provide
We have had no indication—or, at least, a very slight indication—from the Home Secretary as to what considerations will apply when we come to decide what is reasonably practicable. The right hon. and learned Gentleman tried to differentiate between his approach and that of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), but, from what I could understand, they were both the same. I am not going into the subjective and objective considerations, questions of finance, and so on. All that it means is that the responsibility for that decision, and the responsibility for making the decision whether the service will be profitable or not, will rest with the I.T.A., and they will only do it if they are spurred on to do it by the programme contractors. The advertisers, who, in the end, are to provide the main amount of the money, will be the people who will be deciding whether the stations shall be set up or not, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows it."television broadcasting services … for so much of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as may from time to time be reasonably practicable."
Will the hon. Gentleman look at Clause 6 (4), which deals with this point?
I think I mentioned this matter yesterday, when I said that it was very silly to call it an independent Authority, when the Postmaster-General will be able to say where to site the stations. There is no guarantee here. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman thinks differently, why did he not say so in replying to the debate? The purpose of every speech was to ask whether or not Wales was to be properly covered and to express fears that the Independent Television Authority was so much dependent upon advertisers that their interests and not the needs of the people in a particular area would decide whether a service would be provided. The contractor will decide whether a service is reasonable and practicable. It will not be the Government or the Postmaster-General. In the last resort, it will be the advertisers. What will be considered will be density of population. The outlying parts of Scotland will have to wait a long time to get an alternative programme, if they are ever to get it at all.In these Amendments we challenge the supporters of this alternative system of television. The Home Secretary has failed to prove that it will go even half way towards covering the country. London will be put before Lossiemouth, and Motherwell will come a long way after Manchester.
The Home Secretary did himself less than justice in attributing to us a motive different from that which was attributed by other hon. Members behind him. We have been told that this is a political manoeuvre on our part, because we are afraid that when the people of Scotland get commercial television—if they ever do—they will like it and that we can then say that we pressed for it to be provided earlier than the Government were willing to do it. The Home Secretary said that the Amendments were, on the admission of my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison), wrecking Amendments, and that this was a demonstration that had gone far enough.The Amendments depend upon a principle which underlines the philosophy of our party, that of fair shares for every citizen. However important the 9 million people in the London area may be, we cannot accept the suggestion that they are more important than the 5 million people who are doing a good job of work in Scotland and Wales. We are not concerned in these Amendments with the merits or demerits of commercial television. We have no wish to inflict these commercial programmes on the Scottish people. Because we say that, it has been argued that it is inconsistent for us to want the system extended to Scotland. A second programme would be good, but this is not the best way to do it. However, the principle was accepted by the House of Commons on Second Reading, and we have to make the best of what we think is a bad job. The Home Secretary replied to points made by my hon. Friend for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson), but I deprecate the attack he made on my hon. Friend for his absence. My hon. Friend is one of the most conscientious Members—
I did not mean to attack the hon. Member for Dundee. East (Mr. G. M. Thomson). I am glad he is back in the Committee. Another hon. Member was wanting to interrupt while I was dealing with the speech of the hon. Member for Dundee, East, and all I intended to say was that it would have been a reasonable interruption if it had been made by the hon. Member for Dundee, East and not by anyone else. I did not mean to make any reflection on the hon. Gentleman.
I express my apologies to the Home Secretary for any seeming discourtesy. I was called out of the Committee on very urgent business.
I quite accept that. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not think there is any aspersion upon him.
I quite understand the position of the Home Secretary, particularly after he heard the result of the local elections in Dundee. They do not give him and his party cause for congratulation.The reply of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to my hon. Friend was, as he admitted, an old one, relating to the relatively small proportion of the licence fee involved. Coming from the Home Secretary, that was a feeble effort. My hon. Friend had also made the point that people would be paying for something they were not likely to get, which would raise prices in the shops because they would be paying for an increased cost of living. The right hon. and learned Gentleman challenged that on the ground that advertisements usually resulted in price decreases. I do not think the price of tea now bears that out, in view of the amount of advertisement that the tea companies are pursuing. On what basis is the Secretary of State for Scotland excluded from the provisions of the Bill?
He is not excluded. As my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General said in a previous debate, we expect that parts of Scotland and Wales will be covered.
I fully understand that, but the parts that will be included will depend on priorities. On what basis will Birmingham and Manchester get priority over Glasgow? Figures show that a commercial transmitted in Glasgow would cover almost as great a population as one set up in the Birmingham or Manchester area. If a transmitter were set up in the Glasgow area, I believe that it would cover a population of something like 3½ million, which is 65 or 70 per cent. of the total population of Scotland. I should have thought that on that basis alone—I do not know what the technical difficulties are—there is just as great a case to be made for Glasgow as there is for Birmingham or Manchester. I leave out of the question the problem of London.7.30 p.m. The point has been made, and not adequately answered by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that London is being mollycoddled in every kind of way, particularly in regard to commercial television, and at a time when, as my right hon. Friend the Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) said, we are trying to do everything possible to get some of the population out of London, we are increasing attractions which are likely to bring more people into London. I urge the right hon. and learned Gentleman to look again at the Scottish question to see whether Scotland can have priority, if not over London, at any rate over Birmingham and Manchester.
Without associating myself with the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. Hamilton), I wish to try to put quite bluntly the main point which has emerged from this debate, and which, of course, emerged from the reply to the question asked by the hon. Member for Kemp-town (Mr. H. Johnson). I think that the hon. Member for Kemptown has every reason to feel slightly cross with the Home Secretary and with several of his hon. Friends from whom he might have expected some support on this point, because in the past we have heard many of them make comparable demands on the Assistant Postmaster-General in relation to the B.B.C.The hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell), who is well liked on both sides of the Committee, looked as though he intended to speak. I thought that the Whip had not wandered up to the third bench by accident; I am sure he was not there to talk about the weather to 'the hon. and learned Gentleman. But it is a pity that the hon. and learned Gentleman did not press his point. I think that the Home Secretary has been less than fair to the B.B.C., and was a little less forthcoming to the Committee on this subject than he usually is. I do not say that he lacked candour, because that is not like the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The Home Secretary took refuge in the general plea that these Amendments sought to lay upon the new Authority an obligation that was not laid upon the B.B.C. I think that is a fair statement of a section of his argument. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, as certainly does his hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General, knows perfectly well that the B.B.C. has extended its television transmission to meet the needs of the community and not in relation to its density. He knows perfectly well that the B.B.C. has now five high-power transmitters, and that there is an agreement under which it is to erect five medium-power transmitters. That will give the B.B.C. a coverage of between 90 and 95 per cent. of the entire population of these islands. That is what the B.B.C. intends to do, and is expected to do. Does the Assistant Postmaster-General wish to interrupt? No. I should not have thought that there would be an interruption on that point, because the B.B.C. would have been able to reach that saturation point of 95 per cent. more quickly if funds were not being taken from it, if capacity were not being absorbed from it, and if channels were not going to be tubed as a result of this Bill.
I cannot agree with that statement. The setting up of this Authority would in no sense affect the growth of the B.B.C.'s progress.
I am not a technician and have no authority for making this statement, but my understanding of the matter is that at present there is a paucity of channels. I understand that the need for channels will be met by removing other services from existing channels, and that therefore this Authority is being placed in front of the B.B.C. in terms of the present available channels. Is that wrong?
It is wrong when put in the way in which the right hon. Gentleman puts it. The B.B.C. has had sanction for the provision of one programme for the whole country. This proposal to set up an Independent Television Authority in no way affects that position. As I told the House yesterday, the machinery and transmitters have all been ordered, and therefore it has no effect on the coverage of the country.
But the hon. Gentleman does not attempt to answer my point. I know, but apparently the Home Secretary does not, that the B.B.C. has engaged itself to secure a coverage of between 90 and 95 per cent. of the country.
The right hon. Gentleman did not hear me say that after this programme of capital investment the B.B.C.'s coverage would, according to my information, be 97 per cent. I went even further than the right hon. Gentleman.
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but I wish he would swallow his own figures and then pursue the logic of them, because he certainly said in my hearing that we were seeking by these Amendments to place upon the new Authority an obligation which we did not seek to impose upon the B.B.C. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is agreeable to the B.B.C. reaching a coverage for the whole country of between 90 and 95 per cent. before his hon. and right hon. Friends will contemplate permitting the Authority to develop its second programme in any area, then, of course, he will be directly answering his hon. Friend the Member for Kemptown and will be removing many of our fears. But he has not said that. I would gladly give way if he wished to say it, but he does not. I must assume that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is unwilling to give such an undertaking, and, therefore, he is scarcely being reasonable in his apparent anxiety to treat the B.B.C. and the new Authority as equals.The Assistant Postmaster-General says, "No second programme until this figure of 97 per cent. coverage is secured." But he does not say that for the new Authority. Why not? He knows perfectly well that the programme contractors will not be attracted to supplying a service for the areas for which my hon. Friends have pleaded and which are set out in the Amendments. The hon. Member for Kemptown knows the difficulty. He knows perfectly well that if the commercial conditions exist for a second programme in London before the wishes of his constituents in Kemptown have been met, a second programme will be provided. The hon. Gentleman knows the condition in the United States. There are many areas there where there are no television services at all; but the hon. Gentleman knows that he could walk into any New York—I was going to say into any saloon in New York, but I am sure that he would not do that—he could walk into many private homes in New York and have the choice of seven channels. The hon. Member for Kemptown knows the answer—there is no mystery about it. It is because it is profitable to run seven services in New York and not profitable to run them for 65 per cent. of the rest of the United States. [HON. MEMBERS: "Thirty-five per cent."] I may have got my percentages wrong, but the Home Secretary has not got his answer pat either. He has been given repeated opportunities before the hon. Gentleman arrived to meet issues raised, not by us, but by his hon. Friend.
I was here before the right hon. Gentleman.
I was not attempting to say that the hon. Gentleman had not been here, but in the hon. Gentleman's absence the right hon. and learned Gentleman was given opportunities and did not take them. He will not reply to this question, and the whole Committee must conclude that the Government are unwilling to declare that under the Authority part of the country will have an alternative service before other parts, and that, of course, London and Birmingham will have more than one programme. The basis of their argument, therefore, disappears.To us and to the public they say, "Look at us generous, far-sighted, public-spirited men. We want to compete with the B.B.C.'s monopoly—but not in Aberdeenshire. The B.B.C. can have Aberdeenshire. Not in South-West England—the B.B.C. can still have the monopoly there. Not in Wales—no, the B.B.C. will be permitted the monopoly there, too." It will be permitted the monopoly wherever the robbers who are called contractors do not think that the prospect is attractive. I am sorry that I do not see opposite any of the hon. Gentlemen who sit for the Scottish constituencies—
The right hon. Gentleman is wrong.
I am sorry. I think that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) has displayed a consist- ent interest in this subject. I did him a great injustice. I am sure that outside the House he has pursued it with greater vigour than I have. But he must be feeling pretty lonely. I might also say that he has not been the most unreasonable of the Scottish Members. I have not heard him make demands on the B.B.C. that are not commensurate with the demands made upon the new Authority. I may however refer to the Aberdeenshire Members.
What about the hon. and learned Member fo Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes)?
I shall be quite certain that his vote is recorded or accounted for.7.45 p.m. The real difficulty does not lie in Aberdeenshire. The distribution of votes there is not too tough. But I should think that some of the hon. Gentlemen who sit, with a nice narrow majority, for example, in South Lanarkshire, will feel fairly uncomfortable when the second alternative service is given by the new Authority in London while they still have to enjoy the monopoly of the B.B.C. Regretfully I must say that I think that the debate on this set of Amendments has been unsatisfactory. No one expected the Home Secretary to be able to say that all the Amendments would be accepted—
They are contradictory.
There are some which are exclusive, I quite agree. The Committee expected the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that the Government would see that these people—who are getting public funds in order to make further profit—would be bound by undertakings similar to those binding the public service, the B.B.C. That is not unreasonable. Despite all the propaganda, the people in those areas which are not to be served are contributing. They have a right to expect to share the benefits which the right hon. and learned Gentleman claimed for this organisation.It would have been a great pleasure if from the right hon. and learned Gentleman we could have had an undertaking that at a later stage he would find a form of words—and there is no one better in this Committee at finding a form of words —which would have expressed that intention, and enabled us to withdraw these Amendments. The Home Secretary directed our attention to Clause 6 (4). I shall be delighted if, at the appropriate stage the right hon. and learned Gentleman tells us that in terms of that Clause, if an approximate equal coverage to the B.B.C. is not being undertaken by the new Authority, he will see to it that no licence is available for second programmes. At that stage of course, we shall have to reconsider our position. However, I do not think he will say that either. We have all noticed that the subsection carefully lays down that the Authority can do the limited things it is permitted to do only after or in consultation with
Division No. 86.]
|Aitken, W. T.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddingnton, S.)||Drayson, G. B.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Duthie, W. S.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Erroll, F. J.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Finlay, Graeme||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Fisher, Nigel||Kaberry, D.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Kerr, H. W.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Readling, N.)||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lambert, Hon G.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Fort, R.||Langford-Holt, J. A|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Foster, John||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H|
|Birch, Nigel||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)|
|Bishop, F. P||Fyfe, Rt. Hen. Sir David (Maxwell||Lindsay, Martin|
|Black, C. W.||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Llewellyn, D. T.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A||Gammans, L. D.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Braine, B. R.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Lookwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Glover, D.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Braithwaite Sir Gurney||Godber, J. B.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Gomme-Dunoan, Col A.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Cough, C. F. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Gower, H. R.||McAdden, S. J|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Graham, Sir Fergus||MoCallum, Major D.|
|Bullard, D. C.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hall, John (Wyoombe)||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Harden, J. R. E.||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Maokie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Carr, Robert||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Channon, H.||Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield)||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Harvey-Watt, Sir George||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastls)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hay, John||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Heath, Edward||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Cole, Norman||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Marples, A. E.|
|Delegate, W. A.||Higgs, J. M. C.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Maude, Angus|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hills, Mrs. E. (Wythemhawe)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Crookshank, Capt, Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hirst. Geoffrey||Mellor, Sir John|
|Crouch, R. F.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hollis, M. C.||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S)||Holt, A. F.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hope, Lord John||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Neave, Airey|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Horobin, I. M.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
the Postmaster-General. The Authority will therefore be permitted to prevail.
Many people in the remoter areas will test the good intentions of the Government—and many people are anxious to believe that the Government have good intentions here—by whether they are willing to set public need at any rate at a parity with the profit of these private contractors who are to be given public funds. If the Government cannot give any indication, then, of course, we shall have to divide the Committee.
Question put, "That the words 'so much of' stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 252: Noes, 242.
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Nield, Basil (Chester)||Roper, Sir Harold||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thompson, Lt-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Oakshott, H. D.||Russell, R. S.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Odey, G. W.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Tilney, John|
|O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Scott, R. Donald||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Orr, Cap). L. P. S.||Scott-Miller, Comdr. R.||Turton, R. H.|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Shepherd, William||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Osborne, C.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K|
|Page, R. G.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Perkins, Sir Robert||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M||Soames, Capt. C.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Spearman, A. C. M||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M||Speir, R. M.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Pilkington, Capt. R. A||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Pitman, I. J.||Stevens, G. P.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C|
|Pitt, Miss E. M.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Walkinson, H. A.|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Profumo, J. D.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Wellwood, W.|
|Raikes, Sir Victor||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Ramsden, J. E.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Rayner, Brig. R.||Studholme, H. G.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Rees-Davies, W. R||Summers, G. S.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Remnant, Hon. P.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Wills, G.|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Ridsdale, J. E.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Teeling, W.|
|Robertson, Sir David||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Sir Cedric Drewe and|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Delargy, H. J||Jeger, Mrs. Lena|
|Adams, Richard||Dodds, N. N.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)|
|Albu, A. H.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Edelman, M.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Evans, Edward (Lowesloft)||Jones, T. W (Merioneth)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Keenan, W|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Fernyhough, E.||Kenyon, C.|
|Baird, J.||Finch, H. J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J||Fletcher, Eric (Islington. E.)||King, Dr. H M|
|Bartley, P.||Follick, M.||Kinley, J.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Forman, J. C.||Lawson, G. M|
|Bence, C. R.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Benson, G.||Glbson, C. W.||Lewis, Arthur|
|Beswick, F.||Glanville, James||Lindgren, G, S|
|Blackburn, F||Gooch, E. G.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Logan, D. G.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||McGhee, H. G|
|Boardman, H.||Grey, C. F.||McGovern, J|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon A. G||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mclnnes, J.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Grimond, J.||McLeavy, F.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvll (Colne Valley)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H|
|Brock, Dryden (Halifax)||Hamilton, W. W||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D||Hannan, W.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hargreaves, A.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hastings, S.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney. S.)||Hayman, F. H.||Marquand, Rt. Hon H. A.|
|Callaghan, L. J||Healey, Dennis (Leeds, S.E.)||Mason, Roy|
|Carmichael, J.||Herbison, Miss M.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hewitson, Capt M||Messer, Sir F.|
|Chapman, W. D||Hobson, C. R||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Holman, P.||Monslow, W.|
|Clunie, J.||Houghton, Douglas||Moody, A. S.|
|Collick, P. H||Hoy, J. H.||Morgan, Dr. H B. W.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hubbard, T. F.||Morley, R.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S)||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Crosland, C. A. R||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H (Lewisham, S.)|
|Crossman, R. H S||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N)||Mort, D. L.|
|Culler, Mrs. A||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Moyle, A.|
|Daines, D.||Hynd, J. B. (Atteroliffe)||Mulley, F. W.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Murray, J. D.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfieid, E.)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Nally, W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Janner, B.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J.|
|Deer, G.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Orbach, M.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E||Wallace, H. W.|
|Oswald, T.||Short, E. W.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Padley, W. E.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Weitzman, D.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Pannell, Charles||Skeffington, A. M.||West, D. G.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Parker, J.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Parkin, B. T.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Pearson, A.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Sparks, J. A.||Wigg, George|
|Popplewell, E.||Steels, T.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Porter, G.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Willey, F. T.|
|Proctor, W. T.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Pryde, D. J.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Swingler, S. T.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Rankin, John||Sylvester, G. O.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Reeves, J.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Willis, E. G.|
|Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Reid, William (Camlachie)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Rhodes, H.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Richards, R.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon A.|
|Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Thornton, E.||Yates, V. F.|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Timmons, J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Tomney, F.|
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Turner-Samuels, M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Ross, William||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Price.|
|Royle, C.||Usborne, H. C.|
Amendment proposed: In page 1, line 15, at end, insert:
Provided that within six months after the Authority shall first have provided a programme from a station situated in England, they shall provide a programme for Scotland
Division No. 87.]
|Acland, Sir. Richard||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hargreaves, A.|
|Adams, Richard||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Hastings, S.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Grossman, R. H. S.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Daines, P.||Herbison, Miss. M.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Hobson, C. R.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Davies Harold (Leek)||Holman, P.|
|Baird, J.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Houghton, Douglas|
|Bartley, P.||Deer, G.||Hoy, J. H.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Delargy, H. J.||Hubbard, T. F.|
|Bence, C. R.||Dodds, N. N.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Benson, G.||Edelman, M.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Beswick, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Blackburn, F.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Boardman, H.||Fernyhough, E.||Janner, B.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Finch, H. J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Follick, M.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena|
|Bowles, F. G.||Forman, J. C.||Jenkins, R. H. (Steehford)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Gibson, C. W.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Glanville, James||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gooch, E. G.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Keenan, W.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Kenyon, C.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Grey, C. F.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Carmichael, J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Kinley, J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Grimond, J.||Lawson, G. M.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Clunie, J.||Hamilton, W. W.||Lewis, Arthur|
|Collick, P. H.||Hannan. W.||Lindgren, G S|
or some part of Scotland from a station situated in Scotland.—[Mr. Gordon Walker.]
Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 241: Noes, 252.
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Parker, J.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Logan, D. G.||Parkin, B. T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Pearson, A.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|McGovern, J.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|McInnes, J.||Popplewell, E.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Mckay, John (Wallsend)||Porter, G.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|McLeavy, F.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Proctor, W. T.||Thornton, E.|
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Pryde, D. J.||Timmons, J.|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Tomney, F.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Rankin, John||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Reeves, J.||Ungoed-Thomas, sir Lynn|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Viant, S. P.|
|Manuel, A. C.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Rhodes, H.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Mason, Roy||Richards, R.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Mellish, R. J.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Messer, Sir F.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Monslow, W.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||West, D. G.|
|Moody, A. S.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Ross, William||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Morley, R.||Royle, C.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Morris, Parcy (Swansea, W.)||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Wigg, George|
|Mort, D. L.||Short, E. W.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Moyle, A.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Mulley, F. W.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Willey, F. T.|
|Murray, J. D.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Nally, W.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Skeffington, A. M.||Williams, W. R. (Draylsden)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Willis, E. G.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Orbach, M.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Oswald, T.||Sparks, J. A.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Padley, W. E.||Steele, T.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Yates, V. F,|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Pannell, Charles||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Swingler, S. T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Price.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Cole, Norman||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Colegate, W. A.||Gower, H. R.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hall, John (Wyoombe)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Crookshank, Capt Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Crouch, R. F.||Hare, Hon. J. H.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Davidson, Viscountess||Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Deedes, W. F.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Hay, John|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Heath, Edward|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Drayson, G. B.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Birch, Nigel||Drewe, Sir C.||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)|
|Black, C. W.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Duthie, W. S.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Braine, B. R.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hollis, M. C.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Erroll, F. J.||Holt, A. F.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Finlay, Graeme||Hope, Lord John|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Fisher, Nigel||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Horobin, I. M.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Billiard, D. G.||Fort, R.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Carr, Robert||Gammans, L. D.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Channon, H.||Garner-Evans, E. H||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Glover, D.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Godber, J. B||Kaberry, D.|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Odey, G. W.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Kerr, H. W.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Osborne, C.||Summers, G. S.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Page, R. G.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Perkins, Sir Robert||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Teeling, W.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pitman, I. J.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Powell, J. Enoch||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Profumo, J. D.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Tilney, John|
|McCallum, Major D.||Ramsden, J. E.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Tunner, H. F. L.|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Redmayne, M.||Turton, R. H.|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Renton, D. L. M.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Ridsdale, J. E.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Robertson, Sir David||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horneastle)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Roper, Sir Harold||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Maude, Angus||Russell, R. S.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C|
|Medlicott, Brig. F.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Mellor, Sir John||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Wellwood, W.|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Scott, R. Donald||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Moore, Sir Thomas||Scott-Miller, Comdr. R.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Shepherd, William||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Neave, Airey||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Wills, G.|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Nield, Basil (Chester)||Spearman, A. C. M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Speir, R. M.||Mr. Studholme and Mr. Robert Allan|
|Oakshott, H. D.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
Amendment proposed: In page 1, line 15, at the end, insert:
Provided that within six months after the Authority shall first have provided a programme from a station situated in England, they shall provide a programme for Wales or
Division No. 88.]
|Acland, Sir Richard||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Delargy, H. J|
|Adams, Richard||Brockway, A. F.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Albu, A. H.||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Edelman, M.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Brown, Thomas (Inoe)||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Burton, Miss F. E.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Callaghan, L. J.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Baird, J.||Carmichael, J.||Finch, H. J.|
|Bartley, P.||Champion, A. J.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Chapman, W. D.||Follick, M.|
|Benee, C. R.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Forman, J. C.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Clunie, J.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Benson, G.||Collick, P. H.||Gaitekell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N|
|Beswick, F.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Gibson, C. W.|
|Bing, G. H. C||Craddock, George (Bradford. S.)||Glanville, James|
|Blackburn, F.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Crossman, R. H. S||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)|
|Boardman, H.||Daines, P.||Grey, C. F.|
|Bottomley, Rt, Hon. A. G.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Grimond, J.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Deer, G.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
some part of Wales from a station situated in Wales.—[ Mr. Gordon Walker.]
Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 242; Noes, 252.
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Mason, Roy||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Mellish, R. J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Hannan, W.||Messer, Sir F.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Mitchinson, G. R.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Monslow, W.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Hastings, S.||Moody, A. S.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Steele, T.|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Morley, R.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Howitson, Capt. M.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Mort, D. L.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Holman, P.||Moyle, A.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Mulley, F. W.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hoy, J. H.||Murray, J. D.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Nally, W.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oldfield, W. H.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Oliver, G. H.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Orbach, M.||Thornton, E.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Oswald, T.||Timmons, J.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Padley, W. E.||Tomney, F.|
|Janner, B.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Pannell, Charles||Viant, S. P.|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Pargiter, G. A.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Parker, J.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Parkin, B. T.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Pearson, A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Plummer, Sir Leslie.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Popplewell, E.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Keenan, W.||Porter, G|
|Kenyan, C.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||West, D. G.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Proctor, W. T.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Pryde, D. J.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Kinley J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Lawson, G. M.||Rankin, John||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Reeves, J.||Wigg, George|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Lewis, Arthur||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Rhodes, H.||Willey, F. T.|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Richards, R.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Logan, D. G.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|McGovern, J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S)|
|McInnes, J.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Willis, E. G.|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|McLeavy, F.||Ross, William||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Royle, C.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Shackleton, E. A. A||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Short, E. W.||Yates, V. F.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Price.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Brooman-White, R. C.||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Deedes, W. F.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Bullard, D. G.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M&A|
|Banks, Col. C.||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Burden, F. F. A.||Drayson, G. B|
|Baxter, A. B.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Drewe, Sir C.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Campbell, Sir David||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Carr, Robert||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Channon, H.||Duthie, W. S.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Erroll, F. J.|
|Birch, Nigel||Cole, Norman||Finlay, Graeme|
|Bishop, F. P.||Colegate, W. A.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Black, C. W.||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R[ill]|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Ford, Mrs. Patricia|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Crookshank, Cant. Rt. Hon. H. F C||Fort, R.|
|Braine, B. R.||Crouch, R. F.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Lucas-Tooth Sir Hugh||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Gammans, L. D.||McAdden, S. J.||Russell, R. S.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||McCallum, Major D.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Glover, D.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Scott, R. Donald|
|Godber, J, B.||McKibbin, A. J.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Shepherd, William|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Simon, J. E. C. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Gower, H. R.||Maclean, Fitzroy||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Speir, R. M.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Marples, A. E.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Maude, Angus||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hay, John||Mellor, Sir John||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Heath, Edward||Melson, A. H. E.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Summers, G. S.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Taylor, Cir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Neave, Airey||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nicholls, Harmar||Teeling, W.|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hollis, M. C.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Holt, A. F.||Nugent, G, R. H.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hope, Lord John||Oakshott, H. D.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Odey, G. W.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Horobin, I. M.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Tilney, John|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Turton, R. H.|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Osborne, C.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Page, R. G.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Perkins, Sir Robert||Vosper, D. F.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Pickthorn, K. W. M||Wall, P. H. B.|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Kaberry, D.||Pitman, I. J.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Kerr, H. W.||Powell, J. Enoch||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Profumo, J. D.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A||Raikes, Sir Victor||Wellwood, W.|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Ramsden, J. E.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rayner, Brig. R||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Potersfield)||Redmayne, M.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Lindsay, Martin||Rees-Davies, W. R||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Linstead Sir H. N.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Wills, G.|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Renton, D. L. M.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Ridsdale, J. E.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Robertson, Sir David||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Longden, Gilbert||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Mr. Studholme and Mr. Robert Allan.|
I beg to move, in page 2, line 4, at the end, to insert:
There should not, I think, be any objection to this Amendment; nor do I think it will detain the Committee very long. There has been a certain amount of criticism that the new Authority will not be sufficiently independent. This is the first of our steps towards making it a little more independent. The Bill says that, apart from the chairman and a deputy-chairman, the Authority shall consist of not fewer than five nor more than eight other members. We seek to have the numbers determined at eight, and that, if, for any reason, the number is reduced below that, the Postmaster-General must lay before each House of Parliament a copy of the notice which, we say, he should give to the Authority of his determination to reduce the number.Provided that unless and until the Postmaster-General otherwise determines by notice in writing to the Authority, a copy of which shall be laid before each House of Parliament, the number of the said other members shall be eight.
The right hon. Gentleman might have given a little more explanation of his object. He said that it was to make the Authority more independent. I do not quite follow that argument, and I would ask him what he has in mind in thinking that the Authority must be composed of 10 members altogether. Are some of the members to be full-time and some part-time? Exactly how is the Authority to be made up? Later tonight we shall be discussing the qualifications for membership of the Authority and other matters concerning its composition, but for the present I feel that the right hon. Gentleman, who must have had some very cogent reasons for moving the Amendment, should have given us a little more information.I am not enthusiastic about making the numbers of any of the public boards and corporations too rigid. It is advantageous to have flexibility on these boards. In the time of the Labour Government we found, as the nationalised industries got into their stride, that from time to time it was necessary to change the composition of the boards, and there was amending legislation. It was decided in some cases that a board should have more full-time members or more part-time members, that at times a board should be enlarged, and that on other occasions that a board should be reduced. I think one needs to hear a few reasons why this Authority should be compelled to start with such a large number of members as 10. There are only nine Governors of the B.B.C. at present. Of those, three represent the different parts of the United Kingdom. Why should this Authority have a larger number of members than the B.B.C., especially as it is to be responsible only for television, and television of less coverage than the B.B.C. has? Unlike the B.B.C., it will not be responsible for sound broadcasting, too. Nor will it be responsible for producing the programmes to the same extent as the B.B.C. is for producing its programmes. In other words, the Authority will have less work to do than the B.B.C., and it will have less coverage. Yet it is suggested it should consist of 10 persons. Admittedly, three will represent the different parts of the United Kingdom, as three Governors of the B.B.C. do. Moreover, it will have a capital of only a £2 million loan over a period. Consequently, it is difficult to believe that the Authority will require so large a membership at the outset. When we were in office hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite hurled taunts at us about "Jobs for the boys" whenever we created boards. Whether we set up a small board or a large board they shouted, "Jobs for the boys." Yet here is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting a board that should be large enough to include, presumably, a certain number of right hon. Gentlemen, perhaps outside the Committee, who would like to be on this Authority.
In our judgment, they were jobs for the wrong boys.
In view of some of the things said during this debate we are convinced that there are to be jobs for the wrong boys on this Authority. We have no doubt whatever of that in view of the contacts that have been referred to, that the Assistant Postmaster-General has been having with people who are interested in programme companies and in advertising.It is not necessary to start with a rigid number of members like this for the Authority. What is wrong with the Bill as it is, whereby there can be up to 10 members including the chairman and deputy-chairman, and the Postmaster-General, in making the appointments, can decide how many there should be? Because of the defeat of an Amendment of ours yesterday it will be necessary for him to find the members of the Authority immediately, but we do not want him to have to rush round to find the full number all at once. It will not be easy to find the right people for this job. Already, I have no doubt, he has some wrong people in mind. It will not be easy to find the right people, so we should like to hear a few more reasons why the number of the members of the Authority must be fixed rigidly at this number at this stage.
Hon. and right hon. Gentle men opposite are a little difficult to satisfy. They complain bitterly that the Independent Television Authority is not sufficiently independent. Whenever any steps are taken towards making it more independent—
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how increasing the number of the members of the Authority makes it more independent? If it is his view that it does, why does he not propose doubling the number of the members, or having 30, or more?
One of our difficulties is that the Opposition do not read the proposed Amendments, their own or those of anyone else. If they had read them they would have seen that this Amendment has to be read with subsequent Amendments—
Why did not the right hon. Gentleman say so in the first place?
—which will continue to carry out our process. The hon. Gentleman has not even read this Amendment. He complains that it fixes the numbers of the members rigidly. If he had bothered to read the Amendment he would have seen—could I have the hon. Gentleman's attention?He has asked me a number of questions, and when I am answering perhaps he will do me the honour to listen to my explanation. If he will read the Amendment, he will see that there need not necessarily be 10, but that if the Postmaster-General otherwise determines, he shall inform Parliament. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] The hon. Gentleman asks why should the Postmaster-General bother to inform Parliament; why not leave this to the Postmaster-General?
The right hon. Gentleman should make his own speech and leave us to make ours.
We think that if this important board should be reduced below that number from time to time, Parliament should be informed. I trust that these few words of explanation will satisfy hon. Gentlemen opposite.
It is difficult for the Committee when the right hon. Gentleman treats us in a cavalier fashion on an Amendment which deserves serious examination. I quote from memory, but I believe that "Crossbencher" stated that if the right hon. Gentleman's speeches were cut from HANSARD and pasted together the number of columns he spoke in a Session would run the length of the Chamber. Now, however, he has spoken too briefly and I would like more explanation of this Amendment.In one particular I am entirely with him, and that is that the Postmaster-General should put the notice in writing and place it in the Library of the House of Commons. If all the Amendments of the right hon. Gentleman to this Bill moved us in the direction of, I will not say Parliamentary control but Parliamentary interest, I assure him that I would be with him wherever I could on his Amendments. Now I come to the number. The right hon. Gentleman sticks rigidly to eight—at any rate, that is what he has put in his Amendment. It deserves more consideration. It may well be that by taking a larger group of eight or 10, including the chairman and deputy-chairman, one could bring in people with other interests and, as a result, the board might be more independent. On the other hand, it might be argued that too big a board is unmanageable, and in that case one is much more likely to be at the mercy of the programme contractors or whoever they may happen to be. It is the experience that the smaller the group the more they can make their influence felt, and one of the criticisms of the Board of Governors of the B.B.C. is this very fact. I believe the right hon. Gentleman has been a Governor of the B.B.C.?
The hon. Gentleman does me too much honour.
The right hon. Gentleman has held many distinguished posts and it would have been to the credit of the B.B.C. had they had the benefit of his experience on the Board of Governors.I believe I am right in saying, however, that one of the problems of that Board has been that, being not a large amorphous mass, but a large Board, it tends to be at the mercy of the Director-General. He is, of course, a man of immense power and experience with his base at Broadcasting House and at any given moment he knows much more about what is going on than all the Governors separately or collectively. That problem can be met by having a smaller board, though I am open to be convinced by the right hon. Gentleman one way or another. Therefore, I should like him to tell me why eight would be a better number than five.
I say again that it is a little difficult to satisfy hon. Members because now we have moved into an attack upon the B.B.C., which I thought was the model and exemplar of what such things should be. The hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) is one of the ablest younger Members of the House, so able indeed that his views have tended to merge with ours on this point. The reason which led us to specify a number similar to that of the B.B.C. was that territorial interests should not dominate the board. On the other hand, if the House so thought fit, the number could be reduced by the House concurring with the action of the Postmaster-General, and a notice in writing laid by the Postmaster-General could be prayed against and thereby Parliamentary control could be completely established.
If this is modelled on the B.B.C., would the right hon. Gentleman tell me why he fixes the number at 10 instead of nine?
Exact mathematical calculation would be a little difficult to explain at length. I am quite willing to go into that with the hon. Member outside the Chamber, but I think it would delay the Committee if one went into too great a differentiation between nine and 10. We cannot say that there is much difference between us on that difference in numbers.