HC Deb 05 February 1957 vol 564 cc241-2
52. Mr. Jay

asked the Prime Minister whether those sections of the British Broadcasting Corporation for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible and the British Council are among the information services to be co-ordinated by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Prime Minister

As I stated on 24th January, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for the co-ordination of the oversea information services as a whole. These services include sound broadcasting financed by the Grant-in-Aid to the British Broadcasting Corporation External Services and the activities of the British Council. As was made plain by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on 30th January, the responsibility of individual Ministers for the information expenditure, policy and output of their Departments remains unchanged; nor, of course, is there any change in the position of the British Broadcasting Corporation under the Charter and the Licence and Agreement.

Mr. Jay

Can we then have a clear assurance that there will be no political interference by the Chancellor of the Duchy with the B.B.C. or with the British Council?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir; of course, I am ready to give that assurance. The functions which he is carrying out are really very similar to those which have been carried out in previous Administrations, and I am sure that they will be very well done. I think it is generally recognised that it is a great advance to have all this work brought together and co-ordinated.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Prime Minister aware that under previous Administrations Ministers responsible for Government policies of this kind also had substantial other responsibilities, which the Chancellor of the Duchy has not got?

The Prime Minister

I think at one time it was the Lord Privy Seal.