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Bbc Development Plan

Volume 529: debated on Wednesday 7 July 1954

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8.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the date on which the British Broadcasting Corporation submitted its 10-year development plan to the Government.

April, 1953, but I should make it clear that it was not submitted for specific approval but as an outline of the Corporation's long-term plans.

As the Government have given many repeated assurances about not hamstringing the B.B.C., why has it taken all this time to give consent for this programme.

Because the B.B.C. has an enormous programme development on hand. In any case, it would not be able to start a second programme until 1957, even if it were approved.

9.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General when a decision can be expected from the Government as to the date on which the British Broadcasting Corporation can be permitted to start on its television expansion programme.

The British Broadcasting Corporation is already fully engaged on the substantial expansion of its television service in Band I. As regards a second B.B.C. programme, in Band III, I cannot at present add to my reply to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson) on 30th June.

Surely the B.B.C. has made its application, the matter was fixed, as I thought, at the Stockholm Conference, after the hon. Gentleman took office, and I should have thought that it should have been given permission long before this. How long are the Government to take even yet to let the B.B.C. start on a second programme?

The B.B.C. is at present developing stations at Aberdeen, Belfast, the Isle of Wight, Plymouth, Pontop Pike, Crystal Palace, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Dover, Inverness, Londonderry, Towyn and Carlisle. I would suggest that the B.B.C. has quite enough on at the moment.

Do I now understand that the hon. Gentleman takes it upon himself to decide how much the B.B.C. can tackle? It has made application for these frequencies. When are the Government going to give the B.B.C. an answer?

All the B.B.C. has done is to say that it would like certain frequencies reserved for it if and when the Government are prepared to sanction a second programme.