HC Deb 15 February 1961 vol 634 cc1381-2
10. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Postmaster-General what is the reason for the proposed deferment of the provision of television services for the Western Isles, and North-West Highland mainland.

11. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Postmaster-General when television services will be provided in the North-West area of Scotland and the Outer Isles.

Mr. Bevins

There has been no deferment here. Stage 2 of the B.B.C.'s satellite scheme, due to be finished by March, 1964, includes stations for Lewis and Skye. When these stations are working the B.B.C. can consider what additional stations for North-West Scotland and the Outer Isles are feasible.

Mr. MacMillan

The Minister imagines there has been no delay, but is he aware that local authorities have been under the impression that this phase would be completed in 1963 and that other areas such as the Southern Outer Hebrides will have to wait until completion of that phase before they can get on? Does the Minister appreciate the feeling that there is about the suspected, if not actual, intention of the B.B.C. to create a new delay?

Mr. Bevins

The difficulty with the Lewis and Skye station is getting the television signal across from the mainland. The B.B.C. has surveyed the possibility of getting a signal from the Rosemarkie transmitter in Inverness, and results are being studied. The B.B.C. tells me that it hopes to start looking for possible sites in the future. As far as future stations are concerned, that is a matter for Stage 3 and not this one.

Mr. MacLeod

The Minister did not say when the north-west coast of Scotland would get a service. Even 1964 for the Islands is far too long. Surely these people should get a service before all these alternative services are given to people in other areas.

Mr. Bevins

I will very gladly discuss that with the B.B.C.