HC Deb 26 October 1926 vol 199 cc686-8

(by Private Notice) asked the Postmaster-General whether the list of members of the new British Broadcasting Corporation, which is announced in the House, is to be regarded as complete or whether additions can be made to it; whether he is aware that there is no member of the Committee who possesses any knowledge whatever with respect to the provision of entertainment to which the British Broadcasting Company looks for the greater part of its programmes for the benefit of listeners-in; and whether under these circumstances he will consider the addition of some authority on the subject?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir William Mitchell-Thomson)

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister does not contemplate any additions to the names which I gave yesterday to be submitted for inclusion as Governors in the Charter of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was never intended or desired that the Governors should represent any particular interests. It is, however, contemplated that the new authority will take over the plant and staff of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and listeners may, therefore, be assured that there will be no lack of expert knowledge, either as regards the entertainment side of the programmes or in any other direction.


Then may we take it that the present excellent staff go on as before?


Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, tell us what useful function this corporation is going to take?


That does not arise.

Captain FRASER

(by Private Notice) asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that many listeners and organisations representing both listeners and the wireless trade feel that too large a proportion of wireless licence fees has been retained by the Post Office during the current year, to the detriment of broadcasting, and that they are consequently anxious about the finance of the new corporation; and will he therefore give an opportunity for discussion of this subject before the new corporation is set up by Royal Charter?


I am not aware that there is any general feeling that the amount of £620,000, allocated to the British Broadcasting Corporation for the period 1st April to 31st December, 1926, to cover operating and liquidation expenses, is inadequate, and if there be such a feeling I do not agree with it. As I stated yesterday, the presentation of a Supplementary Estimate in the Autumn Session will afford opportunity for a discussion of the finance of the new Corporation, and I will certainly undertake that this Vote shall be discussed before the Petition for the grant of a Charter is presented.