HC Deb 18 March 1959 vol 602 cc375-6
4. Mr. Chapman

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the Independent Television Authority is allowing the distribution of prizes, worth £55, to viewers in connection with its game, "Dotto"; and, as this is contrary to Section 3 (3) of the Television Act, whether he will seek an injunction in the courts to force the Authority to obey the Act in this respect.

Mr. K. Thompson

The Independent Television Authority tells me that a prize to the value of £5 is all that one individual viewer can win in the game "Dotto." The Authority does not regard this as contrary to Section 3 (3) of the Act which refers to prizes and gifts of significant value.

Mr. Chapman

How can the hon. Gentleman possibly say that £5, which represents half the earnings of many working men and as much as a woman can earn in a week, can be regarded as a prize of insignificant value? If £5 is not a prize of significant value, where is the line drawn? Is it drawn at £5, £10 or £15? Has the Authority told him where it draws the line in interpreting the Act?

Mr. Thompson

As at this moment, and in the light of information and advice given to it, the Authority considers that £5 is not a prize of significant value, and it thinks that that figure is about right.

Mr. Ness Edwards

In view of that expression of opinion about prizes of significant value, does the Assistant Postmaster-General hold the same view about trips to Australia, about cars and about motor cycles worth £100 which are being distributed as prizes?

Mr. Thompson

The right hon. Gentleman is referring to an entirely different matter. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) was referring to a subsection of the Act relating to the offering of prizes which are available only to viewers. No prizes of the kind referred to by the right hon. Gentleman have been offered in that way, so far as I am aware. If he can draw attention to any such incident, we will have it investigated.

Mr. Shinwell

As nearly everybody associated with television manages to derive some gain from it—those appearing in the talks, those who are supposed to entertain, etc.—why should not the viewer earn a few shillings?

Mr. Thompson

There is a widely held view, I know, that all those who look at "Dotto" ought to be rewarded in some way.