HC Deb 22 March 1923 vol 161 cc2757-8
73. Captain BERKELEY

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date the contract between the Post Office and the British Broadcasting Company was entered into; whether this contract was approved by the Treasury; and, if so, whether he will lay upon the Table both the contract and the minute of the Lords of the Treasury setting forth the grounds on which they have proceeded in authorising it?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks)

I have been asked to answer this question. The contract in question is dated the 18th January last. It was approved by the Treasury by letter and was laid on the Table on the 1st instant. I do not think it necessary to lay the Treasury letter on the subject.


Is it a fact that, under this contract, licence fees paid by the public for installations of wireless sets are shirred between the Government and the company? Is it not also a fact that the contract virtually sets up a monopoly in the manufacture of wireless sets?


The contract was laid on the Table three weeks ago, and the hon. and gallant Member is just as capable as I am of seeing what it contains.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider it advisable that a contract of this importance, binding this country for a very long period, should be made without the sanction of the House?


I think it is quite impossible that every individual contract dealing with Government matters should be sanctioned by the House.


I wish to ask the Prime Minister if he does not consider it is in the public interest that, when a monopoly of this nature is granted, the matter should be brought up in Parliament?