HC Deb 23 January 1962 vol 652 c17
10. Mr. Mayhew

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation whether he has yet received the report of the working party on the British Broadcasting Corporation's overseas services.

Mr. P. Thomas

I have been asked to reply.

Yes, Sir. The Government, after consulting with the British Broadcasting Corporation, have now completed a comprehensive review of external broadcasting. We have worked out a long-term policy based on two fundamental principles. First, that our effort should be concentrated on those areas where sound broadcasting is the most effective of our information media and, secondly, that the broadcasts should be heard there without difficulty even on the cheaper types of set.

The Government have therefore approved a major programme of building new transmitters. This will cost over £4½ million and should make it much easier for people to hear the B.B.C. in those areas where we believe sound broadcasting to be most valuable, particularly in Asia and Africa. Meanwhile, we have also decided on a minor redeployment of effort. The British Broadcasting Corporation's services in Russian, in Hausa and in English for East Africa will be expanded, and the Thai service resumed. At the same time the British Broadcasting Corporation will curtail its services to the United States, and discontinue a small service for South Africa and the use of a transmitter in Western Germany. Some further economies will eventually be needed to help meet the heavy cost of running the new transmitters. These are being discussed with the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. Mayhew

Is the Minister aware that, as far as they go, these announcements are welcome? Can he say what the total budget for broadcasting will be in the coming year?

Mr. Thomas

No; I am afraid I cannot give the exact figure at the moment.