HC Deb 17 December 1958 vol 597 cc1113-4
27. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Postmaster-General what further authorisation of expenditure in the Highlands and Islands by the British Broadcasting Corporation he intends to sanction; and whether he will now authorise the extension of television very high frequency service to the Western Isles.

28. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Postmaster-General when there will be an extension of television and very high frequency reception to the western seaboard of Ross and Cromarty.

29. Mr. N. McLean

asked the Postmaster-General what steps he is taking to ensure that the British Broadcasting Corporation improve their sound radio services in Fort William and Lochaber and along the west coast of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and to expedite the introduction of television services in these areas.

Mr. Marples

My hon. Friend's reply of 10th December relating to these matters covered the grounds completely. I find there is nothing useful I can add in respect of the places in which hon. Members are now interested.

Mr. MacMillan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that reply was highly unsatisfactory, and that until the Western Isles are equipped the whole coastline of Ross and Cromarty and Sutherland and some parts of Inverness-shire will not be able to get television reception? Is he further aware that the B.B.C. seems roaring to go and is only waiting for financial authorisation so that it can place contracts for equipment and the rest of its needs? All this takes time to go through. Having all these things in mind, will not the right hon. Gentleman be a little more helpful? When some areas are clamouring for improved service and in others we are duplicating service, why is the right hon. Gentleman not giving favourable consideration to an area where there is no service at all?

Mr. Marples

I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are sympathetic to the problem of the Highlands. We want to give them a service as quickly as possible. In view of the fact that the B.B.C. experiment in satellite stations shows that technically there is an answer to the problem and that we have only just got the result of that experiment in satellites, the hon. Gentleman has been a little unfair in saying that we have been slow.