HC Deb 27 January 1954 vol 522 cc1732-4
28. Mr. Ness Edwards

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the total amount of capital involved in the approved British Broadcasting Corporation television expansion plan and the proposed British Broadcasting Corporation sound development programme submitted to the Television Advisory Committee; and the amount estimated to be involved in the provision of commercial television.

Mr. Gammans

The B.B.C. estimates that the capital cost of the 14 television stations now in course of construction or planned will be about £2,300,000. The Corporation's latest proposals for 56 V.H.F. sound broadcasting transmitters would cost some £2 million. As to the last part of the Question, I cannot add anything to what I said in the recent debate. There will be some considerable expenditure by the Post Office for television links, but at this stage I am unable to add to what I said in the debate on the Post Office Money Bill on 19th November last.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Do I understand that someone is trying to keep an eye on this generally large capital expenditure, and are we really in a position to afford this casting off of all control over this form of investment when the country's economic position is not too bright?

Mr. Gammans

I do not think there is any question of casting off all control over capital expenditure, and one of the reasons why my noble Friend wishes to reconsider this recommendation a little further is because of the expense involved.

Mr. Fell

As V.H.F. and F.M. broadcasting has been almost a complete failure in every country in the world in which it has been tried, with the exception of Germany, will the Minister consider very carefully before embarking upon a £2 million scheme without first giving it a proper try-out in this country?

Mr. Gammans

One of the reasons why we are considering it is because of the expense involved and because some of the matters are contentious.

30. Mr. R. E. Winterbottom

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will place in the Library the plan of development presented to the Television Advisory Committee by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

18. Mr. Reeves

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will arrange for a copy of the British Broadcasting Corporation development programme, which was submitted to the Television Advisory Committee, to be placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Gammans

I should like to place a copy of this plan in the Library, and will do so at the first opportunity, but as it has not yet been considered as a scheme of development by the Television Advisory Committee, both my noble Friend and the B.B.C. feel that it should be regarded as confidential until we have had an opportunity of considering any recommendations which the Television Advisory Committee may have on it.

Mr. Winterbottom

In view of the difficulties which the country is experiencing at the present time in respect of both sound and television programmes, does not the hon. Gentleman think that keeping this information from Members of this House is somewhat reprehensible?

Mr. Gammans

There is no intention whatever of keeping it from the House, but at the moment the whole question is more or less sub judice and, until a decision is reached, both the B.B.C. and my noble Friend feel that it would be premature to issue the report.

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