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Commercial Television Stations (Programme Contractors)

Volume 529: debated on Wednesday 7 July 1954

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6.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what advice the Government will give to the proposed Independent Television Authority on the number of programme companies to be allocated to each commercial television station.

The hon. Member is anticipating events. The I.T.A. will undoubtedly wish to have discussions on this subject with my noble Friend, but under the Bill it will be for the Authority to conduct negotiations with potential programme contractors and to reach its own decision in the matter.

As the Government profess to be opposed to monopoly, would not the hon. Gentleman agree that it is important that we should not set up a monopoly for each new television programme unit?

If the hon. Member reads Clause 5 (2) of the Television Bill, he will see the charge laid upon the Authority in that particular connection.

Surely the Government have now made up their mind what advice they will give to the I.T.A.? Is there to be one programme contractor at one station or not?

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the Government have not made up their mind.