HC Deb 23 February 1966 vol 725 cc391-2
17. Mr. Hugh Fraser

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will now give permission to the British Broadcasting Corporation to make preparations for the introduction of colour television in the autumn of 1967.

Mr. Benn

I cannot usefully add to the reply I gave on 2nd February to my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Mr. Owen).

Mr. Fraser

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will agree that, unless a decision is taken soon, we shall not get colour television for many years to come? Surely at this time he knows the view of the B.B.C. that general permission to go ahead with preparation should be given.

Mr. Benn

If there is one thing more important than getting a decision it is getting a right decision. If the right hon. Gentleman has followed this, as I am sure he has, in the Press and read the recent article in the Economist, he will know that one could go wrong by hastening too rapidly before further consideration has been given.

Mr. Bryan

Would not the Postmaster-General agree that one cannot go very wrong about the date? Three systems are certainly still being considered, but there is not a huge fundamental difference between them and I should have thought that the Government could have plumped for a date by now.

Mr. Benn

With great respect to the hon. Gentleman, to give a date for the introduction of colour television without saying what system should be used would not be a meaningful decision.