HC Deb 17 February 1931 vol 248 cc1056-7
45. Sir K. WOOD

asked the Prime Minister when he proposes to ask the House to consider the proposed Government grant to grand opera?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

I am not yet in a position to say. As has already been explained by my hon. Friend the Postmaster-General, certain questions are under dis- cussion with the British Broadcasting Corporation, the settlement of which will probably involve a new agreement between the Post Office and the Corporation and it is proposed that this new agreement should include provision in respect of the opera grant. The agreement will of course only provide for payment of the proposed grant in the event of supply being voted by Parliament for that purpose.


May I take it that the Government are pressing on with this as quickly as they possibly can?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will obtain the funds for the national opera subsidy by means of a Vote brought before the House of Commons or by other means, such as the variation of the contribution or deduction which govern the payments of the British Broadcasting Corporation into the national Exchequer?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Philip Snowden)

I think that the hon. Member has misapprehended the position. The revenue from wireless receiving licences is collected by the Post Office and paid into the Exchequer gross. The share of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the proceeds of the licences is voted each year by Parliament under Subhead P of the Post Office Vote and the amount so voted is determined by the agreement set out in Command Paper 2756 of 1926. The grant in respect of national opera will require therefore both the approval of the House to an increase in the Vote and the amendment of the agreement referred to.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think, in view of the very serious financial position—


Mr. Mander!