HC Deb 10 November 1942 vol 383 cc2249-50
40. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Information whether he will put the fees paid to members of His Majesty's Forces for broadcasting on the same basis as the fees paid to civilians for broadcasting; and whether he will immediately end the present system of deducting half the fees paid to members of His Majesty's Forces which are remitted to the Treasury?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information (Mr. Thurtle)

No distinction is made between members of His Majesty's Forces and civilians in Government employment. The position is that, if a servant of the Crown gives a broadcast not as part of his official duty but on a subject in which he is expert in his official as well as in his private capacity, half the fee is paid to him and half to his Department. The same rule applies if he is enabled to give his broadcast by reason of experience acquired in the course of his duties.

Mr. De la Bère

In view of all that we owe to the men of the Forces, does it not seem undesirable and unfortunate that there should be this necessity for them to return half the fee? Are they not entitled to receive the full fee in view of the services they are giving to the nation? Will my hon. Friend endeavour to get this matter adjusted?

Mr. Thurtle

My hon. Friend will see that the position as set forth in the answer is equitable from the point of view both of the public purse and of the public service involved.

Mr. De la Bère

I do not think they are treated properly.

Sir P. Hurd

In addition to this deduction by the Treasury is there also Income Tax, or is the deduction in lieu of Income Tax?

Mr. Thurtle

I cannot answer that point without notice.

Lieiut.-Colonel Elliot

Apart from that, is it not rather hard on a young flying officer who comes up to town to give a broadcast of his experiences that he should have half the money taken away because they are experiences about which he has information by virtue of his public service? Is it not rather hard that the opportimity for a certain amount of jollification should be denied to him?

Mr. Thurtle

I agree that the case which my right hon. and gallant Friend has mentioned is a hard one, but I think he will agree that it is difficult for the Treasury to make exceptions to a general rule of this kind.

Mr. Astor

Do professors who broadcast have to return half the fee to their universities?

Mr. Thurtle

No, Sir, because they have not acquired their knowledge in the service of the Government.

Mr. De la Bère

Why not change the rules?