HC Deb 12 May 1924 vol 173 cc902-3
62. Mr. BAKER

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the proposal to broadcast the speech at the opening of the Empire Exhibition at Wembley led to an enormous increase in the sale of wireless apparatus, as a result of which the Marconiphone firm exhausted their stock; and whether, having regard to the profits which are being made, he is satisfied to leave the control of broadcasting to a private company?


I have no specific information as to the first part of the question. With regard to the second part, the British Broadcasting Company do not manufacture or sell wireless apparatus, and I see no reason why increased sales by other firms should affect the arrange- ment under which the Broadcasting Company is licensed to undertake broadcasting in this country.


Are not the profits of the Broadcasting Company very greatly in excess of what was anticipated when the company was formed?


Is it not owing to the fact that this matter has been left to private enterprise that the profits have been so great; and, so far as Government wireless is concerned, has it not always resulted in a loss?


Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to maintain the embargo on the importation of foreign sets?


I do not think the last question arises. With reference to profits, under the terms of the licence issued to the Broadcasting Company they cannot distribute more than 7½ per cent. to their shareholders. Any additional profits must be used in developing the service.