HC Deb 07 November 1961 vol 648 cc782-3
23. Mr. Mayhew

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation if he will make a statement on the future of the British Broadcasting Corporation's services to foreign, commmonwealth and colonial countries.

Mr. Vosper

The Departments concerned, in consultation with the B.B.C. have been making a comprehensive study of the whole question of external broadcasting. I will consider making a statement as soon as it has been possible to reach conclusions.

Mr. Mayhew

I welcome that statement, so far as it goes. Is the Minister aware that we have been steadily falling behind other countries in the quantity and power of transmission of our overseas services? As I think the content is probably as good as any in the world, why cannot we develop this service instead of holding it back?

Mr. Vosper

That is one of the things the working party has been considering, particularly the question of audibility. I hope that the hon. Member will not have to wait too long before I am able to give him information about that.

Mr. Kershaw

Do I understand my right hon. Friend to say that only services overseas would be cut and that there is no proposal at all to cut the services broadcast from this country to the other side of the Iron Curtain and elsewhere where they are so badly wanted?

Mr. Vosper

The expenditure on Government overseas information services is partly at home in this country and partly across the exchanges. It is only that part across the exchanges which is subject to the 10 per cent. saving.