HC Deb 06 December 1939 vol 355 cc635-6
30. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the decreased expenditure of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the larger financial balance available, he will consider utilising all or part of that balance for the purpose of granting free licences to certain necessitous cases, including old age pensioners, either with or without recommendations from local pensions committees or similar authorities; and whether he will issue free licences at least to old age pensioners not living with relatives or friends?

The Postmaster-General (Major Tryon)

I do not consider that the possibility that there might for a time be a larger surplus of wireless licence revenue would justify a departure from the policy recommended by the Ullswater Committee of restricting the concession of free wireless licences to blind persons covered by the Wireless Telegraphy (Blind Persons Facilities) Act of 1926. If the hon. Member's suggestion were adopted there would be other classes of the community for whom an equal claim could be made.

Mr. Sorensen

Could not the other classes be considered on their merits? Does not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman appreciate the fact that all users of wireless apparatus would appreciate this concession to a very hard-pressed and needy section of the community?

Major Tryon

I think the wording of the hon. Member's question goes to show that he appreciates the difficulty there would be in administering this concession.

Major Sir William Colfox

When there is a surplus arising out of the licence fees, is it not a legitimate way of using it to hand it over to the Treasury?