§ 10.14 p.m.
§ The Postmaster-General (Mr. John Stonehouse)
I beg to moveThat the Television Act 1964 (Additional Payments) Order 1969, a draft of which was laid before this House on 21st April, be approved.I understand that the Opposition are concerned about this draft Order, but I believe that it can be attacked only on one of two grounds—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I want to deal with these two grounds and to show how illogical an attack on the draft Order would be. First, it is possible that some hon. Members may deploy an argument against the principle involved in the payments which the I.T.V. companies are expected to make. This would not gain much support in the House, as it is a matter of common agreement, certainly between the two Front Benches, that it is appropriate that the programme companies should pay a rental charge for a facility made available to them by the community.
The House will remember the history of this. When commercial T.V. began the profits made were not very great, but they grew to astronomical proportions. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd), who I am glad to see is present, introduced in his 1961 Budget a television advertisement duty at a flat rate of 11 per cent. This was to correct the situation in which the T.V. companies were enjoying returns on their investment out of all proportion.
In the 1963 Act, a new system of dealing with the problem was introduced. 172 It provided for rental payments by the programme contractors to the I.T.A. under two separate heads. The first was concerned with the payment to meet the Authority's costs in discharging its statutory duties, the duty of providing and operating a network of transmitters and the duty of supervising and controlling programme contractors. We are not concerned with that charge tonight. We are concerned with the second charge, the additional payment to be made by the authority into the Consolidated Fund and designed to secure for the community a fair return from a publicly-available facility.
It was as a result of that Act that the flat-rate duty was abolished and the levy reckoned by reference to percentages of contractors' annual advertising receipts, with provision for a varying scale to take into account the different financial positions of the various groups of contractors. Powers to vary the rates were given in what is now Section 13(6) of the consolidating Act of 1964 and I am using that Act to lay the Order before the House.
Hon. Members who now sit on the other side of the House supported the principle of this rental charge. Therefore, it ill-becomes them—if any of them should try to do so tonight—to attack the principle of this charge. I believe it is commonly accepted that it is reasonable for the programme companies to pay this rental charge.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. With respect, we cannot debate the parent Act and the principle involved. Certain variations are being made and those are what we can debate tonight.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I appreciate that, Mr. Speaker, and I am merely identifying the fact that the principle is generally accepted on both sides—the principle that it is not in the nature of a tax but a rental payment for a facility that is provided by the community.
Where there may be some disagreement is about the amount of the rental payment which may be asked from the programme companies. Some hon. Members may be concerned about the rate that is being charged and the increase they are being asked to approve 173 tonight. I will, therefore, explain how it was that we came to bring this suggeston forward.
In his Budget speech, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced an increase of £3 million a year. This was arrived at after very close discussions that had been going on for two years between my officials in the Post Office and officials of the I.T.A. Those discussions began in the summer of 1967 and the main object was to find out the return on the investment made by the programme contractors. The main result of the discussions was the fact that the T.V. companies as a whole were making a return of well over 40 per cent. on their investment.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that, as a result of those investigations, it would have been the intention to increase this levy, apart from the need expressed in the Budget speech by the Chancellor? Is he saying, in other words, that the increase is based on the merits of the investigations and that it has nothing to do with the stringency outlined by the Chancellor?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Yes, Sir. It was on the basis that the programme contractors were expected, when the original imposition was made—I referred to this at the outset of my speech—to pay a reasonable rental charge. It was considered, as a result of the discussions, that the £3 million increase was reasonable to expect in all the circumstances.
It was expected that the profits of the programme contractors would decrease as colour programmes were introduced and the Authority was introducing a fifth major contractor this year, and this, it was expected, would have some effect as well. On the other hand, the industry has remained profitable. It has made a very good return. As the House knows, the Chancellor decided to introduce the increase of £3 million, which was considered a reasonable increase in the light of all the circumstances.
On the estimates of the I.T.A., the effect of this increase, if applied in full to the current contract year—that is the year ending 29th July, 1969—would still have left the companies with profits of 174 about £9 million before tax, which is a return of just under 20 pet cent. before tax, which compares favourably with a return of 15 per cent. before tax allowed on State contracts. In other words, on advertising revenue running at rather over £8 million a month, we decided that the contractors could afford to pay to the community an extra rental payment of £¼ million in addition to the rental payment of rather over £2 million which, in any event, they would have paid each month.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills (Belfast, North)
Does the figure of 20 per cent. apply equally to the small and medium sized companies as well?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
No, that is the overall figure. It was therefore considered appropriate that we should increase the amount as I have described. We had to decide how to distribute the additional requirements as equitably as possible among the different companies in proportion to the amount of investment they had made. The new scale incorporated in this Order was arrived at jointly after discussions with the Authority and accepted by it as the fairest distribution to take account of the question of the smaller contracors.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing (Hendon, North)
Can the right hon. Gentleman say, in assessing the amount to be levied and having given the factor of 20 per cent. before tax or roughly 10 per cent. after tax, how much in total was allowed for building up reserves to spend on capital equipment for the introduction of colour later this year?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
It varies for various contractors. It would be unfair to them to give a particular figure at this time, but assessments made by my officials and officials of the Authority allowed for a substantial amount to be built up by the individual contractors concerned.
I have had an opportunity of discussing with the managing directors of the programme contractors the effect of this increase. They asked to see me informally some time ago. They have explained to me how their position is affected. The House may be interested to know the result of those discussions. They explained that they have no quarrel with the I.T.A. Their objection to the increase is that it is an over-estimate of 175 the rate of profits they are due to make in this and subsequent financial years. If we look at the actual results in the last few years, we find they are very near indeed to what was estimated by my officials.
In the three years ending 1967–68, profits had been around £19 million, giving a return, as the Chancellor said in his speech, of around or over 40 per cent. In 1968–69, however, despite an estimated increase of £5 million in net advertising receipts after levy and a decrease of over £1½ million in the I.T.A. rentals under the first head—that is the charges they have to meet—the programme contractors expected profits to fall to £12 million, a turn round of £13 million. They did not expect that the introduction of colour would bring in an immediate increase in income, but a large number of colour programmes of good quality would be required.
They expected that £20 million worth of equipment would be required for this and, if B.B.C. experience was any guide, the cost of major productions was likely to increase by 20 per cent. Thus, they estimated that their costs would increase by £4 million or £5 million a year. This fact, linked with the £3 million increase which this draft Order will give authority for us to collect, would reduce profits to £5 million in 1969–70, a quarter of the amount obtaining before the present contract year.
The companies were determined to allow no decline in the quality of their programmes. I was very glad to hear that from them, but they said that in time the quality was bound to suffer if the economic viability of independent television remained doubtful. In the long run the quality of the industry would contract if it could not afford to experiment. There was a danger, especially, that regional companies would no longer be able to afford high quality programmes of marginal appeal or at marginal times of day. They also made the point that some companies might not be able to take advantage of export potential in producing programmes.
I was very interested in what the directors had to say and was delighted to note the public-spirited approach that they took to their responsibilities. Their assessment of the effect of the increase 176 bore out what the Authority had told me during my consultations with the Authority before the decision announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The estimate of the effect of the increase in 1969–70 was not available during that consultation, although the Authority tells me that it supports it. However, this is no more than an estimate; and, although I recognise the force of independent T.V.'s convictions about its financial future, I doubt whether these fears will be fully realised in the event. It does not follow necessarily that they will. The I.T.A. was able to maintain programme companies after the first rental payment was made in 1964, despite the fact that the increase took an extra share of its income—a much greater share than the increase which I am asking the House to approve tonight. Whatever its future prospects the return of over 40 per cent. which independent T.V. enjoyed in the three years ending in July, 1968, has been its to keep. We are not asking it to pay it back at this stage. The B.B.C. has been required to make substantial economies in recent years.
§ Mr. Ian Gilmour (Norfolk, Central)
The Postmaster-General is aware, though, that a number of the I.T.A. companies have changed in these years and some of the new ones have not had this great bonanza.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I accept that and agree that the new ones are not in the same position as those which have enjoyed this high return on investment in past years.
It is important to remember that the B.B.C. has been able to make economies and it may be that the I.T.A. will be able to make economies as well. I give an undertaking to the House that we will keep the position under review and, if the contractors' worst fears as expressed to me are realised, we shall be ready to consider making a further Order reducing the impact of this charge. This pledge cuts both ways. If things turn out better for the companies than we have foreseen, we would also have to consider whether it should be increased.
I hope that the House agrees that in the light of all the circumstances this is a reasonable increase to impose during this particular year. I have given an undertaking that the Government will 177 consider the effect on the programme companies during the next year and, if the worst results that are expected by some of the companies concerned, are realised we will again re-consider the position. I do not think we could be fairer than that. I therefore ask the House to approve the Order.
§ 10.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Paul Bryan (Howden)
The awkward and embarrassed tone of the speech of the Postmaster-General shows that he recognised that he is on very weak ground. We have some sympathy with him, because this ground is not ground of his own choosing. It is ground chosen by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—or rather, not quite chosen, but ground on to which the Chancellor has blundered. In increasing this levy by this amount, the Chancellor was clearly blinded by ignorance. He was under the impression that nothing had happened to the television companies over the last two or three years.
The Postmaster-General, in trying to anticipate our opposition to the Order, first wondered whether we would oppose it on grounds of principle. This was unlikely, as we invented the levy. I accept the arguments for the levy which the right hon. Gentleman put forward, but I do not think that anyone can say that the Conservative Government ever imposed the levy on such a scale that it led to a lowering of programme standards.
The increase, in present circumstances, is one more instance of Government policy leading towards a depression of broadcasting standards. That is the reason why I shall advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the Order tonight. Another instance, which I shall not enlarge on, is highlighted by the argument going on in the B.B.C. Once again, in our view, it looks as though—I put it like that because it is all rumour and newspaper reports at the moment—Government policy will lead towards a reduction in B.B.C. radio standards.
§ Mr. Bryan
Yes, Mr. Speaker; I was about to leave that point.
178 This extra levy, when examined against the background of the figures upon which it ought to have been based, gives one the picture of a punch-drunk Chancellor looking round for more millions for his Budget, shopping around, as it were, and saying, "What next?", and some junior civil servant saying, "It is some time since we bashed the I.T.V. What about that?". The figure of 40 per cent. quoted in this context is hopelessly wrong. The right hon. Gentleman was therefore unconscious that this was a uniquely stupid time to raise the levy.
The timing is what matters most here. It is the timing which makes certain that the levy will lead to cuts in programme standards. I presume that the 40 per cent. talked about in the Budget speech applied to periods before the new franchise of 1967, but the changes created by that new franchise are bound to transform these financial results; they are bound to make all the Chancellor's premises completely irrelevant.
What has happened? How big are the changes? First, each major company has new areas and/or new periods of the week in which to broadcast. Second, the Big Four have become the Big Five, with the introduction of Yorkshire, which in turn transforms the financial background. Third, Rediffusion and A.B.C. have amalgamated to form Thames, another great change. Then there are three entirely new companies. How is one to guess what their financial position is? Yorkshire, in particular, is saddled with initial expenses without taking over any of the assets of a previous company, so it is utterly unpredictable. Whatever figures of profitability the Chancellor based his so-called judgment can have no relation to the profit figure from which the new levy will be subtracted.
To make the Chancellor's decision even more irresponsible, it appears that the Postmaster-General forgot to tell him about colour. As the right hon. Gentleman said just now, the B.B.C. estimates about 20 per cent. extra costs on colour programmes, and, as he said also, the capital equipment already invested in by the independent television companies amounts to about £20 million. What he did not say, though this is very relevant to the question of profit figures, is that 179 the depreciation rate on this sort of equipment is bound to be high because of its heavy element of obsolescence. At the same time, in independent television there is no extra return for at least the first few years for putting out colour television programmes, whereas the B.B.C. has more licence income the more sets that are bought.
The outcome of all these developments is as follows. In contrast to the 1967–68 figure, which was £19 million, as the Postmaster-General said, the forecast for 1968–69 is £12 million, and, taking away the £3 million, in a full year one comes to £9 million. There the Postmaster-General gave a return of 20 per cent. In another place, his opposite number did not know the figure at first, but someone handed him a note which revealed a figure of 18 per cent. So apparently 18 per cent. is correct.
Colour television will in future have running expenses of £4 to £5 million reducing the profit figure to about £5 million. But he was careful not to reveal what that equalled in terms of percentage return. The percentage return on that figure is something below 10 per cent.
Then he quoted the figure of 15 per cent. for ordinary contracts with the Government, and he said how lucky television was to have a bigger figure than that. But we are discussing a risk industry. If anyone doubts that, he has only to see what happened after the famous Hill reshuffle. Can anyone think of another industry where a business is suddenly brought to an end by an overnight decision of some committee or authority? Therefore, when we talk about percentage returns, we have to do it in the light of the industry under consideration. But we are now discussing profits of less than 10 per cent. in an industry which obviously is about as risky as one could find.
§ Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)
Since the hon. Gentleman has referred to a risk industry—and I accept that at once—is not he forgetting that gold and diamond mines also are risk industries, and the rewards expected in the early years are very high because of that? One of the principal operators in independent television has immortalised himself by going on record as saying that the grant- 180 ing of a franchise to his company was equivalent to a licence to print money. Let us look at the historical facts.
§ Mr. Bryan
I will return to that point in a moment, to show to what extent the hon. Gentleman is out of date.
I was saying that this is a risk industry, and it is a risk industry in one more desirable way. Every new programme series is a big risk, and rightly so. If one puts on a series production involving 26 episodes costing £60,000 apiece, that comes to a total of £1½ million or so. The loss of that is equal to the profit margin of A.T.V. for a year. These are very big risks.
At this early stage, however, it is impossible to pick out instances to show that the levy has had this effect or that on a given company. But anyone who knows the industry has not the slightest doubt that the small companies will soon apply to the I.T.A. for permission to originate less production. That is the way in which they will economise. It is significant that already Yorkshire and Anglia are trying to get together in order to economise. It is significant that Ulster has cancelled its order for a new television studio costing £1½ million.
The Financial Times, which can be regarded as a factual paper, quotes the Grampian results, showing that before any of this happened its programme costs had gone up 25 to 30 per cent. in the last 2½ years. There is a company with profits one-third less than last year which is paying another £60,000 in levy.
As an hon. Member representing a Yorkshire constituency, I would like to say a great deal about Yorkshire Television. The company has not been going a year yet. It has no results. Everything points to it making no profits, either. It has been plagued by a strike, and by its mast falling down. Despite this, the company is required to pay £2 million levy.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
My hon. Friend is talking as if this is merely extra levy on profits, but the levy has to be paid whether or not a company makes profits.
§ Mr. R. F. H. Dobson (Bristol, North-East)
The hon. Gentleman mentioned Yorkshire T.V., and I am sure that he knows a lot about it. It would be interesting if he gave us a figure so far for the advertising receipts. It is upon these that the levy rests. Are they £500,000 or less when there is no levy paid?
§ Mr. Bryan
I cannot say. What matters to a company at the end of the day are the final profit results. What I am trying to say is that it looks like making no profit. One serious point I want to put to the Postmaster-General is, as we have agreed in principle on the levy, has he given any thought to the possibility, in the long term, of this levy being imposed in some different way, which would not automatically affect programme quality? In another place Lord Willis suggested a levy which took account of the amount directly spent on programmes by the various companies. He suggested that the levy might be geared to a system by which its effect on a company does not descend directly on the programmes.
Can the Postmaster-General pronounce on the future policy about the annual raid on the I.T.A. reserves? This started in 1961. In the four years of Tory rule something like £1,380,000 was taken from the I.T.A. reserves. This did not cripple activities, but in the last three years that sum has risen to £5 million. This arbitrary, unforeseeable, unguessable reduction of reserves in any sort of investing organisation makes an investment policy almost impossible.
§ Mr. Bryan
Some hon. Members will no doubt talk about the "licence to print money", but the facts I have produced mean that that sentence is out of date. Both the B.B.C. and the I.T.V. are in real financial trouble. Both will lower standards of programmes unless this Government does something to stop this happening.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. May I remind the House that this debate can last only one and a half hours. Many hon. Members wish to speak. Reasonably brief speeches will help.
§ 10.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)
The hon. Member for Howden (Mr. Bryan) appeared to be a little embarrassed by the intervention of his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) when he pointed out that this levy is imposed upon the gross receipts of the companies, not upon their profits. The reason why the hon. Member was embarrassed was because this is determined by the Act for which his party was responsible. My right hon. Friend, whether he wants to or not, is bound to follow the pattern set out in the 1964 Act, unless he decided to bring forward fresh legislation. If this is to be in the terms of an Order, it must follow the present pattern.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I cannot say what the Postmaster-General anticipated. My point is that the Order stems from the 1964 Act, introduced by the previous Administration. In these circumstances, unless the Postmaster-General brings fresh legislation before the House to rewrite the 1964 Act, he can only bring forward the Order in this form. I believe, with the hon. Member for Peterborough, that it is the wrong form.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member can believe what he likes but can discuss only the form that is before us tonight.
§ Mr. Jenkins
Indeed, I am discussing this form, but I am saying that it is unfortunate that it has to be this form and that it can be only this form because of the 1964 Act.
I sympathise with my right hon. Friend in as much as he is unable to impose the levy at the point at which it ought to be imposed, which is, of course, the profits of the companies and not the gross revenues. It is unfortunate. There is no reason at all why the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he insists on having £3 million, should not have it from profits. I think it quite wrong that this £3 million should disappear into the Treasury. It is television money which ought to remain in television and ought to be redistributed in television and not go to the Treasury at all. There is no reason why the money should not be 183 exacted, because the programme companies can afford to pay it, but they can afford it better from profits rather than from gross revenues. So I think it rather unfortunate that my right hon. Friend is committed to an Order which stems from the 1964 Act.
It is possibly a salutary reflection that, in between the 1954 and 1964 Acts, there was the Report of the Pilkington Committee, and that the previous Administration paid no account—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. A parent Act exists. Nothing can wish it away. Tonight we are discussing only the Order.
§ Mr. Jenkins
Indeed, I entirely accept your view, Mr. Speaker. I was saying only in passing that it is perhaps unfortunate that the previous Administration paid no account to the recommendation of the Pilkington Committee that advertising revenue itself should go to the Independent Television Authority and not the programme companies. Having said that I will stray no further, or else I shall indeed be out of order, and will return to the Order itself.
I have some sympathy with the point of view which has been put forward, that the proposals made by my right hon. Friend are likely to bear hardly on the smaller programme companies, and I therefore welcome the assurance which my right hon. Friend gave that he would keep under review meticulously the operation of the application of these proposals, so as to see whether they do have the effect which hon. Members opposite have suggested that they will have, and I am rather afraid that they will have.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)
Is my hon. Friend not aware of the fact that the appointments to the office of Postmaster-General change almost every two or three months? While my right hon. Friend gave that pledge, the odds are 1,000 to one that he will not be there to honour it.
§ Mr. Jenkins
This may indeed be true, but it is also worthy of note that the proposal to introduce this increase in the levy was made not by the Postmaster-General but by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, so it rather seems that, whoever gets the office of Postmaster- 184 General, it is the Chancellor who has the say whether the levy is to be exacted or not.
Nevertheless, I feel that these proposals cannot be criticised in themselves. If one accepts, and I think one does accept, that it is possible for commercial television to find another £3 million, what one can criticise is the manner in which it is being found. I think it wrong, but it cannot be otherwise under the present Act. The other thing one can criticise is the destination of the money. It ought not to go into the pockets of the Treasury. It ought to be redistributed in the television industry so as to improve programme content. That is what ought to happen. Within the terms of the Order, my right hon. Friend has done what he has been put in handcuffs by the previous Administration to do.
I recommend to my hon. Friend that, having carried the Order, as he will, he must open his mind to the introduction of fresh legislation to redesign the pattern of the television programmes of the I.T.A. and the B.B.C. If he does that, he will deserve the vote which he will undoubtedly get upon the Order.
§ 10.55 p.m.
§ Mr. John Pardoe (Cornwall, North)
In almost any television debate one should start by saying that one has no interest to declare, because it is assumed that almost everyone has an interest. I have experience to declare, but no interest.
I am opposed to the Order for some of the reasons that have already been given. The Order has been introduced in the mistaken belief that television is still the golden goose that it was when the remark of the Chairman of Scottish Television quoted earlier this evening was made, and that was a different age.
Remarks have been made about astronomical profits. It is perfectly true, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that profits were running at the rate of about 40 per cent. on capital, but they will not go on doing so. Television has oozed the good life at us, but what it portrays on the screen is not happening now in the balance sheets.
It is obvious that all Governments have got the contracts with the television companies wrong. When it was found that the contracts were a licence to print 185 money the contracts were changed, and now the Government are going too far the other way.
The industry regards the £3 million as a levy on advertising and not on profits, and I do not necessarily disagree with that. I do not like levies on profits. Profits in an imperfect capitalist world are an indication of the efficiency with which a company is run. But whereas profits were running at 40 per cent. on capital, in the year ending 31st July, 1969, it is likely that the profits will be about 20 per cent. on capital. Does the Postmaster-General consider this to be an unreasonable return?
In the light of the present interest rates, 20 per cent. on capital is not an unreasonable level of profits in an industrial enterprise, and I would not wish to be associated with a company that was running at a very much lower level than that. Profits fell from £19 million in 1967–68 to about £12 million in 1968–69, and the new levy will reduce this to £9 million.
The introduction of colour is of extreme importance in these calculations. With the increased costs of about 20 per cent. for producing colour programmes, it looks as though the total profits for all the television companies in the first year of full colour transmission over the board will be about £4 million, and that is below a 10 per cent. return on capital, which is a ridiculous return for any enterprise.
I want to deal briefly with the effect on smaller companies with which I have had close personal associations—not now but in the past.
The levy will mean that Westward Television will pay another £75,000 a year. The capital cost to Westward of equipping for colour is about £500,000, and £75,000 is a substantial sum of money in comparison with its profits.
For Border Television, which is one of the two smallest companies, the levy will amount to £24,000 in a full year, which, since it is a close company, is substantially more than the profits available in the existing financial year for ploughing into colour. I am not sure where the money will come from. I have grave doubts whether it will come from the market in view of the terms of the 186 contract. It is estimated that £167,000 will have to be spent between now and September, 1971, in equipping for colour.
So far as Scottish Television is concerned, one has to remember that this is one of the larger regional companies and, in spite of the comment made earlier about a remark of the Chairman of Scottish Television, Lord Thomson, that an independent licence is the same as having permission to print one's own money, we have to think of the facts. Yes, Lord Thomson may have done well out of it, but when he went in there were no other regional companies. Nobody else wanted to get in on the act at that time, but what is happening now is hitting these regional companies pretty hard.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)
The levy paid by these small but very effective companies will be almost doubled in the first year by this new formula.
§ Mr. Pardoe
Yes, I agree, and to what extent is anyone's estimate. What I say will happen as a result of this levy is that there will be no great increase in advertising for either black and white or colour programmes. There will be no great increase in audience numbers and, so long as the credit squeeze lasts, I cannot see colour television catching on. I think the House would do well to ponder on the remarks of the new Director-General of the B.B.C., which were given some publicity the other day, that the outlook for colour sets is not very good.
What will happen is that quality will go by the board. Quality is not linked with the size of audiences, and it will be very much easier for a company like Westward to buy cheap American trash rather than go to the expense of putting on good local programmes such it has been doing. I do not know how many hon. Members recall any of the Westward programmes, but some have been very good indeed. The fact is that while this American trash is cheaper and easier to produce audiences will watch it; audiences will stay up watching it, and so income may well stay up, but let us give consideration to what effect this levy will have on the arts. Let us think, for example, about the money which 187 these companies have for paying orchestras and so on. Perhaps the Postmaster-General would care to discuss that matter with his right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Education and Science.
It is wrong to change contracts in midstream. Of course, the Postmaster-General can use the technical argument that the contract is with the I.T.A., but in practice he knows very well that the contract is between us and the Government, and if we can change the terms of the contract then we may. Presumably it is quite all right for London Weekend to have gone back on their promises as they have. Perhaps the Postmaster-General does not mind if everybody tears up their contracts.
Where I disagreed most with him was when he said the levy might be lower if things turned out to be so bad as is forecast; but he also said it might be higher, and that is absolutely monstrous. What enterprise will want to get involved in anything when it knows that if it succeeds, the Government will jump on its back and take even more from it?
§ 11.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Donald Dewar (Aberdeen, South)
I have no intention of getting involved in a technical and, I suspect, often devious argument about what the return on capital in the television industry is or ought to be. Equally, I have no intention of arguing that £29 million is necessarily on unreasonable burden to place on the industry. I am merely interested in whether that burden is distributed in the wisest possible fashion. The question that I am raising concerns the status and the position of the smaller companies.
I understand, and it is reasonable to fear, that these small companies may be hit and hit hardest by the changes in the scale which the Postmaster-General is seeking to introduce. These companies are certainly very far removed from the glittering vision of the show business world which is common in popular imagination. Certainly their franchise has no connection with the notorious "licence to print money" of yesteryear.
Some of us—and I am not ashamed about it—had doubts from the beginning about the concept of commercial television. We felt, and still feel, that there is a tendency to sacrifice standards in the 188 chase for a mass audience. In my mind, there is no doubt that that definition can be blurred by the search for acceptability. The programme which is often widely screened is the programme which will be most widely tolerated and that is not necessarily the best.
If there is an argument for commercial television, it is to be found in the small company which identifies itself with a homogeneous and well defined region, which serves its needs and encourages its aspirations.
There are a number of these I know throughout Britain. In my area there is Grampian Television. One hon. Member has also mentioned Scottish Television, which has a worse reputation than it deserves. It seems to me that such companies have cause for concern.
Grampian, about which the facts and figures are for me most readily available and have indeed been supplied to local Members of Parliament, has a total possible viewing audience of about one million, of which I understand that 43 per cent. falls into an overlap area. Grampian's profit in the last financial year was less than in 1966, and one-third down on the previous year. It stands at £202,000, which is not a princely sum and now they must find about another £56,000. In the past Grampian paid nothing, but, with the abolition of the free slice, it will have to find a sizeable amount of cash at a time when there are special demands and pressures upon the smaller companies.
The introduction of colour is a kind of two-way squeeze. It will put up the cost to the advertiser and encourage him to leave out the peripheral stations and go to the big catchment areas. It will also raise the capital investment necessary over the next few years for these companies.
Grampian's profits indeed in the first four months of this year are lower in each case than in the first four months of the previous year, and costs are going up.
The small companies—Grampian, Border and Ulster—which have never paid before, suddenly will have to pay. It seems that this has considerable implications for the future shape of commercial television in this country. I am not sure that this is right. After all, these companies do not necessarily lack profitability 189 because they are inefficient, but because the public monopoly given to them is limited and they cannot operate or bring to bear their expertise in the widest possible market. They have a public privilege, a monopoly, but similarly they have that limitation built in with the terms under which they exist.
In one sense at least the new levy, or the extension of the old levy, is regressive in effect. Taking a company earning £1½ million, it will have to produce for the Exchequer an additional £70,000 which, if my calculations are right, is marginally under 5 per cent. of its advertising revenue. But, taking one of the big boys whose advertising revenue runs at £10 million, it has to find another £170,000. That is a lot of money, but, as a proportion of revenue, it is about 1.7 per cent. So, in percentage terms, in terms of the size of the organisations with which we are dealing, the smaller the company the more it will be hit.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills
Perhaps I can help the hon. Gentleman's argument further. Is he aware that it has been caculated that the four smallest companies will be contributing about 8 per cent. of the additional £3 million levy, while their total share of I.T.V. revenue is only about 5 per cent., so it appears that it bears particularly hard on them?
§ Mr. Dewar
The hon. Gentleman will doubtless accept that my mental arithmetic is not that good. However, I am sure that his figures have been carefully calculated by somebody somewhere, and I accept that it is so.
I should have preferred a tax on profits, rather than a tax on revenue. After all, what we fear is people making quick and easy profits out of a public monopoly. The obvious and correct way to deal with that is to tax the profits made, but I realise that is a more sweeping change than could be brought in under the circumstances.
I fear that we shall force the small companies, not to go out of existence, that is perhaps over-dramatising the situation, but to cut back on their own productions and programmes. It will be a pity it they do that because their programme schedules will be more anonymous and drab as a result and a lot of 190 the vitality and liveliness will go out of independent television as we know it now. As the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) said, the programmes will be trash. Perhaps that is putting it a little high, but certainly we shall get imported pot boilers which, at the end of the day, are easier and cheaper for the companies concerned. This cannot be a good thing.
These arguments may not be immediately relevant to any Chancellor of the Exchequer in his professional capacity, because he must always be routing round for added revenue, but I hope that they will be considered very seriously by the Postmaster-General. If independent television is to have any real role and not to lose all vitality it must operate in terms of local stations to serve local needs. I fear that that will be the harder to discharge adequately if this particular fiscal policy is introduced.
§ 11.12 p.m.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
The muted way in which the Postmaster-General moved the Order made it pretty clear to me that the Post Office is not in full agreement with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in doing this. The Post Office is the sponsoring Department for television. It has a greater knowledge of what goes on, and the potential and the dangers, than any other Government Department, and if I read the situation aright—and this can never be confirmed—the Post Office, through the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman, is demeaned at having to do the job. The right hon. Gentleman's speech shows that his heart is not in this and that the Chancellor does not have his wholehearted support.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I take this opportunity of strenuously denying the point made by the hon. Gentleman.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
The right hon. Gentleman could say nothing different. This is a joint responsibility. The right hon. Gentleman could not admit the truth of what I have said. We have on other occasions heard the right hon. Gentleman speak about something in which he believes, and we have studied his demeanour tonight. We can judge the demeanour of the witness, and that plays as big a part as the words and the evidence he gives.
191 The right hon. Gentleman said that we could not oppose this in principle because of the terms of the 1964 Act. Some of us can oppose it in principle, because when the Bill was going through the House some of us pointed out the dangers of basing any level on advertising receipts and not on profits. It would have been reasonable to base the levy on profits. That would not have done a great deal of harm.
If the Government are trying to suggest that it was my right hon. and hon. Friends who were solely responsible for making what I considered to be a mistake, perhaps I might remind the House that the Bill was passed with the vociferous and wholehearted support of the right hon. Gentleman's friends who supported the then Chancellor in bringing this—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If a mistake was made, or not made, it is over now. The Act is an Act. We are debating the Order.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
What I was saying was relevant to the extent that the right hon. Gentleman said that we could not oppose this in principle. The principle about which he spoke was the basis on which he had to operate, and I am saying in answer to the right hon. Gentleman's claim that some of us are in a position to oppose it in principle, and I for one do.
I think that the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Dewar) gave us a clear insight into what is really behind this, because once again commercial television is being clobbered. It is being singled out for this treatment.
Mr. Frank Tommy (Hammersmith, North)
The point is well made. There would be no profits for the shareholders to share, and we feel that they have been clobbered. My union has a £300,000 investment in Yorkshire Television, and we will not get any profits.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
The hon. Gentleman has found a delightful way of declaring an interest.
We must go back a little in history. The hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Dewar) said that there was still an objection to commercial television. There was a sudden change in 1964 in the 192 official policy of the then Labour Opposition. They had written it into their manifesto that they would end commercial television—
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
Except that it reflects the mood of the people bringing in the Order, Mr. Speaker. That mood is the reason why we have to debate this at all.
The levy will come to £29 million—a third of the total advertising income of the programme companies, so they will be left with two-thirds to spend on their programmes. It must be remembered that they do not only pay the levy—like other companies, they also pay 45 per cent. Corporation Tax on their profits. The individuals receiving their dividends must also pay tax, so the contribution by commercial televison is massive, at a time when we want the most up to date and virile television system.
Television has a great part to play in our balance of payments over the next 20 years—giving us a return perhaps higher than we have earned from motor cars. The potential of the entertainment industry, and especially television, is so great that we are being stupid if we do not take advantage of the fact that we have one of the best bases for supplying that world need. For the sake of £3 million, this will have a disastrous effect on the smaller companies, and will interfere with the regional dialects and feelings which, in our debates on the 1964 Act, we said we wanted represented.
In addition to the quality of the programmes which we see ourselves, we will injure one of our greatest export potentials. We could have become to television what Los Angeles was to the film world a few years ago. When we could have been moving fast in producing some of the best colour programmes and sets, we are putting this extra charge on the industry which will make it well-nigh impossible for it even to keep level in the race with the Germans and the Japanese and the others who recognise the great world potential here.
It is that antipathy towards commercial television which has caused the Chancellor to do this. It cannot be the 193 £3 million. If he had recognised this industry's great potential, he would not have done this.
The Postmaster-General suggested that the chairmen of the programme companies did not have much objection to this. He quoted their figures, but in such a way as to make it appear that there was no objection to what will be a disastrous blow against their chances of developing along lines which will be in the best interests of this country.
I wanted to reinforce the general proposition—that the danger which will flow from this is much greater than that of robbing the Chancellor of £3 million at a time when we know that he is in dire need of every pound he can get. I believe that this will injure, at a vital time, one of our greatest export potentials, and that we shall regret it very much.
§ 11.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Lyons (Bradford, East)
In assuring you, Mr. Speaker, that I shall be extremely brief, I shall confine my remarks to Yorkshire, an area about which no backbencher has so far spoken.
Yorkshire Television was estimating that there would be a profit of about £145,000 in the year ending in May. This additional levy will cost Yorkshire £182,000, which means Yorkshire Television facing a loss. When, in addition, one bears in mind the extra charges which will result from increased S.E.T. later in the year, the prospect for this part of the country, like those covered by other small T.V. companies, is sad.
Yorkshire Television was originally designed to replace Granada which, it was considered, was not sufficiently Yorkshire-orientated because it was based at Manchester. It is sad to think that Yorkshire Television should be forced to negotiate with Anglia Television when the latter has, as far as I know, nothing in common with Yorkshire. If such an association is to take place, simply to achieve economies, why was Yorkshire Television established? If it was not designed to bring a Yorkshire regional flavour into programmes, Granada should 194 have been allowed to continue. What was the purpose of the original exercise?
What action does my right hon. Friend propose to take to ensure that the blows of this increased turn-over tax, which is what it is, do not prevent the regional television stations from retaining their regional flavour? Many hon. Members have explained why independent television should succeed. We in Yorkshire do not want lots of imported American violent serials and series. We can well do without them. We have enough of them already.
We want television of a high quality. Yorkshire Television has put a lot of money into new equipment and studios in the area. We want more plays produced in Yorkshire studios with a regional character. This unfortunate turn-over tax will very likely result in economies being made in good quality productions.
§ 11.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Henry Clark (Antrim, North)
I, too, will be brief. In this matter, as in so many others, the Postmaster-General is no more than a creature of the Treasury. However, we are entitled to a straight answer from him to a simple question; why, in devising this levy, did he particularly pick the small companies to pay the heavier share?
This question—why the smaller companies have been chosen to bear the brunt and why the free slice has been reduced from £1½ million to £½ million—was posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills), for we want to know why the smaller companies, which enjoy only 5 per cent. of the total I.T.A. revenue, should pay 8 per cent. of the addition.
Are the sums which are being raised from the small companies—about £70,000 from Ulster Television—so vital to the economy? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that companies like Ulster Television are run with the greatest efficiency and public spirit? Ulster Television is still operating from a converted Victorian warehouse, although it has been turned into an extremely serviceable studio. This company has made no investment outside television and was hoping to extend its facilities this year into a proper studio. Indeed, it has plans to build a £1 million studio for colour transmission. Those 195 plans will have to be scrapped because of this levy.
I will not delay the House by giving many examples of the public spirit in which this company operates. One need only recall the success of Ulster Television's "Midnight Oil" programmes which were based on the Prime Minister's university of the air concept. I can think of no part of the United Kingdom which needs better communications more than Northern Ireland. I have no doubt that this claim can be made by many hon. Members who represent the more remote areas. It is no coincidence that a great many of the hon. Members taking part in this debate represent far flung parts of the nation. I trust that the Postmaster-General will explain why, by this levy, he has caned the small companies.
§ 11.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Gilmour (Norfolk, Central)
Our basic criticism is that this is an ill-judged, ill-timed and unjust increase of tax. Evidently the Postmaster-General thinks the same or he would not have added that extraordinary bit to the end of his speech that if the tax did not work he would alter it straight away.
§ Mr. Gilmour
The right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. The Chancellor does not impost rental charges on companies in his Budget; he imposes taxes. He imposed a levy, not a rental charge in this tax. This is a tax and it comes at a time when the industry is going in for colour television. The colour revolution is upon us and the cost of production in colour will be at least £5 million extra a year. The increase in tax comes at a time when costs are rising by 7 per cent. a year and the incompetence of the Government makes it likely that the increase will get larger rather than less. It comes when advertising revenues, which admittedly have risen recently, are likely to decline. All this can hardly fail to have a considerable effect on the quality of programmes.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
We keep hearing that lower profitability will mean lower quality of programmes. That implies that in the past the richer and more profitable companies 196 have made better programmes and the less profitable ones worse programmes. If that is so, may we have some evidence about it?
§ Mr. Gilmour
I am not saying that, but there comes a moment when profitability becomes low and the standard of programme will decline. In his Budget statement, the Chancellor pointed out that profits before tax in the last three years had averaged well over 40 per cent. of capital employed and commented:In my view the community should have a bigger share in the value of these publicly created concessions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th April. 1969; Vol. 781, c. 1014.]Evidently he was totally unaware that the entire situation had completely changed last July. If ever there were a case of looking up trains in last year's Bradshaw this was it. There could hardly be a greater example of Socialist planning in practice being totally oblivious of what everyone knew took place in the previous July. There had taken place last July the crucial creation of a fifth television major contracting company. That, as the Postmaster-General knows and evidently the Chancellor did not know, had totally altered the entire profitability of the major contracting companies. Since the creation of the fifth major contracting company, the return on capital has dropped to about half of what it was.
As a result of that creation and bringing in colour television, the profit of I.T.A. companies next year and the year after will be about £4 million. That has to be divided between 15 companies, with an average return on capital employed of below 10 per cent. Under a Socialist Government that is a good deal less than an investor can get by investing in Government stock. What is worse, under the unfortunate new proportions of the levy, regional companies will be particularly badly hit. My local company, Anglia, will have to pay about £100,000 more. I feel able to comment on this because on the last Bill I moved an Amendment designed to help smaller companies which under this provision will be heavily clobbered. We already have the absurd situation that Yorkshire Television is likely to pay a levy of about £2 million and make about £100,000 profit. Its profit is so low that it has to enter into conversations with Anglia Television. Incidentally, the hon. Member for Bradford, East (Mr. Edward 197 Lyons) was wrong in saying that Anglia and Yorkshire are not contiguous.
If the Government were by their measures to force independent television to lose its regional character and force the regional companies to combine anal to lean ever more heavily upon the major contractors, it would be a very retrograde step, not only from the point of view of television, but also from the point of vew of the future of regionalism.
It would have been the minimum of elementary prudence for the Government to have waited to see the effects of the new fifth contractor and of the introduction of colour before stepping in with a new and heavy imposition. This is the same in reverse as when the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced pension increases in his Budget before deciding how they were to be paid for. Then the Chancellor announced the increases without having any idea how to pay for them. Here he announced the increased tax without having any idea how it would be paid or what effect it would have on those who will have to pay it or what effect it would have upon the programme content of independent television.
As hon. Members on both sides have said, this new tax—it is a tax, I repeat—cannot fail, first to hurt programme content, and, secondly, to hurt the smaller regional companies. This is both irresponsible and stupid, and it is for these reasons that we shall vote against the tax tonight.
§ 11.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)
As the Postmaster-General does not seem to want to rise, I intervene briefly to say that practically every hon. Member on this side tonight came here to put in a plea for the plight of the small regional companies. The Postmaster-General would do well to direct himself to this particularly vital problem. It is the smaller companies with their special character which will be in grave difficulty if he continues with the formula contained in the Order. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will look particularly at this point and perhaps amend the Order sooner than he had otherwise planned.
§ 11.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
With the leave of the House, Mr. Speaker, I speak again. This has been an interesting if short debate. 198 It demonstrates the paucity of the Opposition's case against the Order that they attempted to drive an artificial wedge between my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and myself. I am as fully associated with this as he is, and I do not believe that it will have the dire effects on the programme companies that has been suggested in some speeches. If I had thought that for one moment I would not be standing at the Despatch Box tonight.
I agree fully with the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) about the quality of programmes being produced and their great potential in export. Already several independent T.V. companies are securing orders running into millions of £s in sales abroad, and we pay tribute to them. Now several of them have already had public tribute paid to them—in particular, A.T.V. has received the Queen's Award; we applaud it for that—for their success in the export field. We wish this to continue. I do not believe for one moment that the increase which is being suggested in the Order will have the effect of reducing the incentive that exists in these programme companies to produce the best possible quality of programme which will appeal to sales abroad as well as exhibition here at home. I do not believe that that case has been made out.
Much has been said about the effect on the smaller programme contractors. I follow the observations of several hon. Members and pay tribute to the job which they are doing in difficult circumstances. As has been said, particularly by my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, East (Mr. Edward Lyons), these companies have small programme areas, so that they are unable to deploy the resources which some of the big contractors can deploy. But they do an incredibly good job in the circumstances. The programme company in Ulster is another example. I endorse what has been said about them, and we do not want them to be adversely affected or prevented from carrying on this extremely valuable activity in developing regional programmes.
Nevertheless, the House must remember that these smaller companies, the four smaller companies, have each made 40 per cent. return on investment in the last three years. The hon. Member for Norfolk, Central (Mr. Ian Gilmour) and 199 his hon. Friend the Member for Howden (Mr. Bryan) both said that the programme contractors had been somewhat changed. That certainly does not apply to the smaller ones. They are the same companies which enjoyed a fine return—not a small return, I think the House will agree—on their investment in past years. Therefore, they should have been able to build up some reserve to enable them to meet the problems of colour, for instance, which they knew would come at about this time.
§ Mr. Henry Clark
Would the right hon. Gentleman seriously suggest that investment in Ulster Television, even in the original days, was in any way more favourable than investment in any reasonable industrial share of the same period?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Yes, I think I could. But I do not think that the programme companies can judge their results on any one particular year. This year—it remains to be seen—may not be so good, but I have said that if the estimates of the programme companies turn out to be as they have said to me they expect them to be, I shall reconsider the position. But I do not expect that it will be nearly as bad at the end of the year when we know what the results are. We shall be able to adjust the position in due course.
A case has not been made out against this rather minimal increase in the rate of return. I emphasise to the hon. Member for Norfolk, Central that it is not a tax in the normal sense of the term. It is a levy which is equivalent to a rent charged for a public community-provided facility. I see the hon. Member for Howden seeking to intervene. That was the principle accepted by his right hon. and hon. Friends when the original Act was introduced in 1963, and they cannot dispute it now.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
It is appropriate that the community should expect to receive a fair return for this facility which is provided to the programme companies. The hon. Member for Peterborough said that the television companies were providing a massive contribution to the Exchequer, either through the levy or through taxation. I do not dispute that. The question 200 is: is it a fair contribution? It may be a large one, but is it fair? We say from this side of the House that, in all the circumstances, it is a fair contribution which the programme companies, given the experience of the last three or four years, should be expected to pay.
The hon. Member for Howden made one of his typical speeches. He seems to forget all the history of this affair. He sheds crocodile tears over the I.T.V. companies and complains about the increase which we are asking the House to approve tonight. It is an increase of £3 million on £26 million, or under 12 per cent. The Government whom the hon. Gentleman supported in 1963 abolished the Television advertisement duty, which had an annual yield of £11 million, and introduced the levy, which produced an annual return on the same income of some £18 million, which was an increase of over 50 per cent. The House will remember the anguished cries of the television companies in that year. They said what a dire effect the levy would have on them. In the event, it was not as serious as was suggested. Since then, the programme companies have been able to produce some excellent programmes, and the hon. Member for Peterborough was right in saying that they have exported them all round the world.
Although there may be some real fears sincerely held in the programme companies and in some parts of the House about this increase of £3 million, an increase of under 12 per cent. is not likely to have the dire effects suggested. Certainly any effects are not likely to be anything like the impact of the 50 per cent. increase in 1963.
My hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins), the hon. Member for Peterborough and my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Dewar) said that the most equitable way of raising the money would be by a tax on profits rather than a levy which, in a sense, is a rental charge. I do not agree, for the same reason that Conservative Ministers in 1963 and 1964 would not have agreed with them. A tax on profits would be subject to evasion. Quite apart from the problems of identifying what they amount to in this context, there is also the danger that the programme companies would set up subsidiaries to produce programmes for them which would 201 charge excessively for their services and so limit the actual profits of the I.T.V. companies, so avoiding the incidence of taxation which it is the general wish of the House that they should have—
§ Mr. Jenkins
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that there is such a thing as certified programme expenditure less certified programme costs? It would be possible to find a half-way house between the two possibilities, as regards programme expenditure and certified profits.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I was asked whether I would consider ways and means of changing this form of imposition. I
§ undertake to keep these ideas under review. But I do not believe that a case has been made out against the Order. The programme companies have made extremely high returns on their investment in past years. They have been able to produce some extremely good programmes, despite the high amount that they have had to pay. I believe that they are fully able to meet the additional £3 million now proposed, without the adverse effects which have been suggested.
§ If their estimates of reduced profits in this year are realised, I undertake to reconsider the position in association with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. I hope that the House will feel that this is a fair and reasonable position to adopt and that it will support the Order.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 242, Noes 173.205
|Division No. 267.]||AYES||[11.44 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Hszell, Bert|
|Albu, Austen||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Henig, Stanley|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret|
|Alldritt, Walter||Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Hilton, W. S.|
|Anderson, Donald||Delargy, Hugh||Hooley, Frank|
|Archer, Peter||Dell, Edmund||Horner, John|
|Ashley, Jack||Dempsey, James||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Dewar, Donald||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Hoy, James|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Dickens, James||Huckfield, Leslie|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Dobson, Ray||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dunn, James A.||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Barnett, Joel||Dunnett, Jack||Hynd, John|
|Baxter, William||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)|
|Bence, Cyril||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh;|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Ellis, John||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Bishop, E. S.||English, Michael||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Blackburn, F.||Ennals, David||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Ensor, David||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Booth, Albert||Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Judd, Frank|
|Boston, Terence||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Kelley, Richard|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Faulds, Andrew||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Boyden, James||Fernyhough, E.||Lawson, George|
|Bradley, Tom||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Foley, Maurice||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Ford, Ben||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Forrester, John||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Buchan, Norman||Gardner, Tony||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Gordon walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Luard, Evan|
|Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Gregory, Arnold||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McBride, Neil|
|Cant, R. B.||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||McCann, John|
|Carmichael, Neil||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||MacColl, James|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Concannon, J. D.||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||McGuire, Michael|
|Conlan, Bernard||Hamling, William||McKay, Mre. Margaret|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hannan, William||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Harper, Joseph||Mackie, John|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Haseldine, Norman||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Hattersley, Roy||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Storehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Paget, R. T.||Taverne, Dick|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Manuel, Archie||Park, Trevor||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|Mapp, Charles||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Tinn, James|
|Marks, Kenneth||Pavitt, Laurence||Tomney, Frank|
|Marquand, David||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Urwin, T. W.|
|Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Pentland, Norman||Varley, Eric G.|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Mendelson, John||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Wallace, George|
|Millan, Bruce||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Probert, Arthur||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Rankin, John||Weitzman, David|
|Moonman, Eric||Rees, Merlyn||Wellbeloved, James|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Richard, Ivor||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Whitaker, Ben|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshawe)||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy||Whitlock, William|
|Morris, John (Aberavon)||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Moyle, Roland||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Neal, Harold||Roebuck, Roy||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Newens, Stan||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Norwood, Christopher||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wilson, William (Coventry. S.)|
|Oakes, Gordon||Sheldon, Robert||Winnick, David|
|Ogden, Eric||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|O'Malley, Brian||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Woof, Robert|
|Oram, Albert E.||Silver-man, Julius|
|Orbach, Maurice||Skeffington, Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Orme, Stanley||Slater, Joseph||Mr. Ernest G. Perry and|
|Oswald, Thomas||Small, William||Mr. Ernest Armstrong.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Errington, Sir Eric||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Eyre, Reginald||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Astor, John||Farr, John||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Awdry, Daniel||Fisher, Nigel||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Maddan, Martin|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Fortescue, Tim||Maginnis, John E.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Foster, Sir John||Marten, Neil|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Gibson-Watt, David||Maude, Angus|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Mawby, Ray|
|Biffen, John||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Glover, Sir Douglas||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Blaker, Peter||Glyn, Sir Richard||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Gower, Raymond||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Body, Richard||Grant, Anthony||Monro, Hector|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Gurden, Harold||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Braine, Bernard||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Brewis, John||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Murton, Oscar|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hastings, Stephen||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hawkins, Paul||Neave, Airey|
|Bryan, Paul||Hay, John||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Heseltine, Michael||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Higgins, Terence L.||Nott, John|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hiley, Joseph||Onslow, Cranley|
|Burden, F. A.||Hill, J. E. B.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Holland, Philip||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hordern, Peter||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hornby, Richard||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Howell, David (Guildford)||Pardoe, John|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hunt, John||Percival, Ian|
|Clark, Henry||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Clegg, Walter||Iremonger, T. L.||Pounder, Rafton|
|Cooke, Robert||Irvine, Bryant Codman (Rye)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Prior, J. M. L.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Pym, Francis|
|Crouch, David||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Crowder, F. P.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kershaw, Anthony||Royle, Anthony|
|Dance, James||Kimball, Marcus||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Kitson, Timothy||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Lambton, Viscount||Sharples, Richard|
|Doughty, Charles||Lane, David||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Silvester, Frederick|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'ne-upon-Tyne, N.)||Longden, Gilbert||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Emery, Peter||MacArthur, Ian||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Speed, Keith||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Walters, Dennis||Wright, Esmond|
|Summers, Sir Spencer||Ward, Dame Irene||Wylie, N. R.|
|Tapsell, Peter||Weatherill, Bernard||Younger, Hn. George|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Temple, John M.||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Wiggin, A. W.||Mr. Humphrey Atkins and|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Williams, Donald (Dudley)||Mr. Jasper More.|
|Waddington, David||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|