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British Broadcasting Corporation

Volume 987: debated on Thursday 3 July 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will hold further discussions with the British Broadcasting Corporation regarding its budget.

I have no immediate plans to do so, but my officials remain in close touch with those of the BBC about its finances.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is widespread local support for such BBC local radio stations as Leicester and Nottingham and that even if there have to be cuts in the BBC budget, as is understood, constituents hope that the BBC will show a proper commitment towards local radio?

That must be a matter for the governors of the BBC. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his point about the BBC finances which must be clearly understood both in this House and throughout the BBC.

Does the Secretary of State not agree that a revitalised BBC local radio service running for 24 hours a day could compete adequately with local commercial radio and that money saved by the BBC could be diverted to saving the orchestras if BBC Radio 1 was abolished and the "needle time" used to revitalise local BBC radio?

I have to be careful to stick to my position and to say that these must be matters for the governors of the BBC to decide.