HC Deb 18 July 1946 vol 425 cc1365-6
21. Mr. Awbery

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will hold an inquiry in Bristol or the West of England into the merging of the Midland and West Regional services of the B.B.C. before taking definite action; and if he is satisfied that Birmingham is the most suitable place for H.Q. in the event of this merging taking place, seeing that the reception in the west is likely to be adversely affected by such a change.

Mr. Burke

The answer to the first part of the Question is "No, Sir." The location of the headquarters of the amalgamated region is a matter for the B.B.C., who, I understand, consider that Birmingham is the most advantageous centre for the administrative headquarters. Offices and studios will, however, be maintained in Bristol, and there will be a Bristol director. The location of the headquarters will not affect reception conditions in the West of England.

Mr. Awbery

Is my hon. Friend aware of the disquiet that has been caused in the West of England by the proposed change, and that people think that an inquiry would cause him to change his opinion?

Mr. Burke

I am aware of the feeling about it, and I have a good deal of sympathy with it, and in so far as it is possible for us to improve reception technically, we will do all that we can.

Mr. Grimston

Bearing in mind the strong feeling aroused in the West of England over this decision, is the hon. Gentleman quite satisfied that every possible avenue has been explored?

Mr. Burke

Yes, Sir, I am perfectly satisfied, having regard to the requirements of the whole of the country and the allocation of our wavelengths, that everything possible has been done in the circumstances.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Has my hon. Friend thought of the possibility of getting Northern Ireland merged in Eire as an alternative?

Sir Ronald Ross rose


Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Cannot the hon. Gentleman recover for the West of England programme one of the wavelengths he has apparently allocated to Germany?

Mr. Burke

We have not given any wavelengths to Germany; the noble Lord is mistaken. What we have done is to keep for ourselves two medium wavelengths for use in Europe.

Sir R. Ross rose


Mr. Speaker

This Question, after all, dealt with Western England and not with Northern Ireland.