HC Deb 21 November 1960 vol 630 cc737-9
2. Mr. John Hall

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps are being taken to encourage the establishment of television stations in British territories; and what technical or financial assistance has been given to such countries to help them establish a television service.

Dr. Hill

In Colonial Territories—and I assume this is what my hon. Friend means by British territories—my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary advises on television development generally, and my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General on frequencies and similar matters. The B.B.C. gives valuable help including technical advice.

Grants for surveys and advice on television development have been made from C.D. & W. funds, which in addition have largely helped the development of sound broadcasting in Colonial Territories. Financial aid towards the capital or recurrent expenses of a television service would have to take its place in the scheme of things with other forms of aid.

Mr. Hall

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that television is an outstandingly successful means of distributing information and strengthening educational facilities in areas where the communication of ideas is difficult? Would he not, therefore, consider that more money should be spent or more resources made available to, strengthen these services? Does he think that if more money were made available to him he could use it profitably in this way?

Dr. Hill

Important though television is, there are, of course, great tracts of the world in which sound broadcasting is the most appropriate medium. I do, of course, agree in general that we must seek to secure the showing of British material overseas, but, as my hon. Friend will recall, I dealt with that point in my former Answer.

Mr. Mayhew

Do not the remarks of the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall) bear out what I have asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to do—to press ahead with subsidising the B.B.C.'s television transcription service and also to enable the C.O.I. to run its own film unit to provide specially geared television material to overseas countries?

Dr. Hill

I assume that when the hon. Gentleman speaks of the transcription service he is referring to television material. I would refer him to what I said before, that money is available for the purchase of suitable material both from the B.B.C. and from independent television companies.