HC Deb 06 April 1967 vol 744 cc434-5
26. Mr. Brewis

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that many householders in Stranraer are unable to receive British Broadcasting Corporation television except by subscribing to a piped relay service; and whether he will allow the cost of such subscription to be deducted from the annual television licence fee.

Mr. Joseph Slater

The BBC., which is primarily responsible for the coverage attained by its services, tells me that the B.B.C.1 transmissions from Divis in Northern Ireland can be received by most viewers in Stranraer provided an adequate aerial is used. To allow a reduction in the licence fee for people with poor reception would in practice be quite unworkable.

Mr. Brewis

Will the hon. Gentleman take it from me that reception in Stranraer is very bad? Does not he think it grossly unfair that the licence fee paid by the people of Stranraer should be used to subsidise extra channels, including those carrying coloured television, in places like London? Can he give a firm date when reception will be improved?

Mr. Slater

The quality of reception varies not only from area to area but from street to street within a town. There would be endless arguments if cheaper licences were allowed for areas of poor reception. The only workable system is to have a standard rate of licence fee from everybody installing a television set. Questions relating to reception are constantly being brought to the notice not only of the B.B.C. but the I.T.A., and they are doing everything possible to improve standards.

Mr. Brewis

On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.