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Bbc And Iba (Competition)

Volume 84: debated on Monday 21 October 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to seek to ensure that the arrangements made by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Broadcasting Authority or its contractors for the acquisition of film or other programme material are consistent with the Government's policy on competition; if he will refer these arrangements, with particular reference to the circumstances surrounding the purchase by Thames Television of the Dallas programme, to the Director General of Fair Trading for examination; and whether he will ask the Director General of Fair Trading to satisfy himself that there are no arrangements made by the British Broadcasting Corporation or Independent Television for the purchase of programme material that are in contravention of the provisions of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act.

The Director General of Fair Trading has statutory powers to initiate appropriate action under the competition legislation in respect of any arrangements that may exist between the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Broadcasting Authority or independent television companies concerning the acquisition of film or other programme material.The Director General has written to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the Independent Television Companies Association making inquiries in connection with the purchase of overseas television programmes. In reply, all three bodies have denied the existence of arrangements concerning the purchase of film or other programme material which might require registration under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976.The Office of Fair Trading is now considering whether, in the light of these replies and other information available to it, further action is justified under the competition legislation.