HC Deb 07 March 1968 vol 760 cc644-5
31. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Postmaster-General, if he will undertake that there will be no increase in the cost of a television licence to viewers in areas which do not receive the B.B.C. 2 programmes.

Mr. Edward Short

I cannot anticipate any decision about the level of licence fees.

Mr. Digby

When can the people of the South-West, and indeed other areas, hope to get value for money in this and many other Post Office matters?

Mr. Short

This is not a Post Office matter, but a broadcasting one. I have looked very carefully at the question of a differential for areas which cannot receive B.B.C. 2. I have also considered a geographical differential. If the hon. Gentleman considers this, he will realise that the only way of working a differential for people who cannot get B.B.C. 2 is to base it on the set, and have a higher licence fee for a set which can receive programmes on 625 lines, but many people in areas such as the hon. Gentleman's have bought a set of this kind, so this would be unfair. I am, however, looking into the question of differentials.

Mr. Bryan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that everybody will be glad to hear that he is considering this? In that we have broken through the differential idea on colour television, I think that this should be given more consideration.

Mr. Short

It is true, as the hon. Gentleman said, that we have established a differential with regard to colour television, but there are at least three other possibilities. All I am saying is that they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, but I am considering the matter.