HC Deb 04 August 1965 vol 717 cc1693-4
34. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Postmaster-General when he will announce the Government's proposals for the allocation of the fourth television channel.

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to his Question of 15th June.

Mr. Dudley Smith

Would not the Postmaster-General agree that it would provide a welcome stimulus to the B.B.C. and also add competition to commercial television if this channel were handed over to the Independent Television Authority?

Mr. Benn

I am aware of the very great interest there is in the future of this channel but, because of the technical, financial, educational and political considerations, I do not propose to be rushed into a decision on how it should be allocated.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Is it not true that there is remarkably little demand for a fourth channel; and that the public would greatly prefer a real choice of programme on I.T.V. and B.B.C.1, instead of the deliberate coincidence of programmes we get at present?

Mr. Benn

That is a subject on which I think my hon. Friend has a Question later in the Order Paper.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Will the Postmaster-General give an assurance to the House that if he is to make a statement on the fourth channel, he will make it to the House, and not during the Summer Recess?

Mr. Benn

Yes, Sir. I think that it is clear from what we said earlier that when the review of broadcasting policy is completed a statement will be made to the House.

Forward to