HC Deb 12 May 1965 vol 712 cc503-4
9. Mr. Boston

asked the Postmaster-General what progress he is making in his review of broadcasting services; what main points are under consideration; and when he hopes to complete his review.

11. Mr. Park

asked the Postmaster-General if he will make a statement on his review of broadcasting services.

25. Mr. Jackson

asked the Postmaster-General if he will now make a statement on his review of broadcasting services.

Mr. Benn

The Government's review of broadcasting policy is proceeding. The main matters under consideration are: the allocation of the fourth television channel; the development of educational broadcasting; local sound broadcasting; pay-television; colour television and, of course, the whole question of broadcasting finance. The review will be completed as soon as possible.

Mr. Boston

Will my right hon. Friend accept that we are very glad that he is making this comprehensive review? In view of the growing concern about local sound broadcasting, can he say how he is getting on with that and when the review on that aspect is likely to be completed? Is he prepared to announce decisions on separate parts of the review instead of waiting until the end? In the case of local sound broadcasting, is he prepared to allow the B.B.C. in the interim to go ahead with pilot schemes, as it is ready to do so?

Mr. Benn

With regard to the latter part of that supplementary question, the answer is "no". We hope that the review will not take all that time. It might be possible to announce some decisions in advance of the final statement, but many of these issues hang together and we have taken them together for this purpose.

Mr. Jackson

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there is great public support for the fourth channel being used as a university of the air?

Mr. Benn

The Prime Minister's statement about a university of the air is, naturally, one of the factors that the Government are taking into account.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The right hon. Gentleman has told us nothing in answer to the Question about the review. Is there some hope that he may be able to tell us something tomorrow in the debate?

Mr. Benn

I cannot anticipate the debate, but obviously it will give a further opportunity to discuss many of these issues.

Mr. Frederic Harris

When does the right hon. Gentleman believe that colour-television will be available to the viewing public in this country?

Mr. Benn

There is a Question about that later and I have answered Questions about it in the past. We had better wait until we reach the Question on it later today.