§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call on any hon. or right hon. Member to speak, I have to announce that I have not selected the Amendment standing in the names of the hon. Members for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck), nor have I accepted the Instruction in the name of the hon. Member for Croydon, North-East (Mr. Weatherill).
This will not affect the debate in any way. Points which could be made on either the Amendment or the Instruction will be in order on the Question, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)
This is a Private Bill promoted by the largest local authority in this country, a local authority which is sometimes rightly regarded as the prototype for the new type of regional authority which is likely to emerge from the Redcliffe-Maud Report.
I mention that in opening because I suggest that if we are to talk and think seriously about devolution of authority to regional governments we have, if we are to be honest with ourselves, to be prepared to look with sympathy and helpfulness when these great regional authorities come forward with proposals involving legislation.
I am not, of course, being so silly as to suggest that for that reason we should not look very closely at any legislative proposals they bring forward, but with this development of large regional bodies, if they are to be successful, a certain amount of co-operation and an attitude of basic helpfulness on the part of this House would be extremely helpful to their development.
The House, of course, is not being asked at this stage to give final approval to these proposals. This being a Private Bill, if the House in its wisdom decides to give it a Second Reading, it will then 532 go in the normal way in respect of Private Bills to one of our Select Committees sitting quasi-judicially hearing evidence and argument. All that is necessary at this stage is for the House to consider whether or not these proposals should be given the opportunity of being subjected to this normal procedure for Private Bills.
The time for final decision would come much more conveniently after the Bill has been to a Select Committee, after evidence from those who are affected, or think they might be affected, has been heard. After there has been the opportunity at leisure for a Select Committee to give the Bill the searching analysis which those of our colleagues who serve on these Committees unfailingly give, then it will be for the House with the advantage of the Committee's report, on the Third Reading, to look at what I accept are the very important issues it raises.
For that reason, and also for the reason that my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) will seek to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, towards the end of the debate, with a view to dealing with points raised in it, I do not propose to detain the House at this stage at any great length.
But I think I owe it to the House to give a quick summary of one or two of the most important features of what, in many ways, is an extremely interesting essay in private legislation. The essence of the Bill is that it seeks to set up a Greater London Radio Authority appointed by the Greater London Council for the purpose of providing local radio programmes in and for Greater London. The Authority, it is proposed, should consist of a chairman, deputy chairman and not less than eight other members. It is the intention of Greater London Council before making those appointments to consult both the Government of the day and the London Boroughs Association about suitable individuals for this very responsible task.
Substantially, the proposed structure of the authority is modelled on that which Parliament approved some years ago in respect of Independent Television. There will be the Authority, with the G.L.C. in this case rather than the Postmaster-General, making the appointments, with its responsibilities for standards of programmes, and so on, and 533 the same system, broadly, of programme contractors competing for the right to send out their programmes. In terms of radio it proposes broadly to follow the Independent Television model.
There is one difference of importance. As the Greater London Council will be in this context in the position which the Postmaster-General holds in respect of Independent Television, the Bill provides that none of these powers shall be exercised unless and until an application has been made to the Postmaster-General, if I understand it aright under either Section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1949, or the old Telegraph Act 1869, for a licence.
The Authority would not have power to operate services without a licence from the Postmaster-General and compliance with any conditions which the Postmaster-General may see fit to attach. I hope that the Postmaster-General will accept that this is designed to meet the important consideration in respect of his responsibilities over control of wavelengths involved in our international responsibilities and his obligations as Postmaster-General. It is important at this stage to stress that the licence and the conditions under it are a condition precedent, so the Bill proposes, to the operation of the powers which are sought.
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Greater London Council has any particular wavelength in mind? He will know that there is a great shortage and that we have the right to use only those wavelengths which are allocated to us by international Convention.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Yes. I was going to deal with wavelengths. I accept that this is a very important point.
It is hoped that it will be possible to operate in the medium band. This is a matter essentially for the Postmaster-General, and, of course, he would almost certainly lay down in his licence which particular bands would be available. Given the fact that the stations will be of relatively lower power, as they will be designed to serve only the Greater London area, it appears that there are bands available, perhaps somewhere in the neighbourhood of 194 or 202 which could be used for this purpose. This is a point for the Postmaster-General after 534 the Bill has become law and when a submission is made for a licence.
Some thought has been given to the matter although Greater London Council would not claim to be technical experts in it. Those experts, of course, are in the Post Office. I am sure that the House would wish to show proper respect for them in that capacity.
Subject to this, the final control being with the Postmaster-General, it follows the model set up for Independent Television. I should have thought it difficult to argue that a system which works in respect of Independent Television could not equally work in the allied field of radio. I do not, of course, overlook in saying that that the original Act dealing with independent television was a matter of acute controversy in this House. I am inclined, however, to think that that controversy has very much died down.
The present Government have operated that legislation for the last four-and-a-half years, which would seem to suggest that they have found it not unsatisfactory. Indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer availed himself of it to increase in his Budget the levy payments on advertising revenue—they were originally worked out when I was at the Treasury—and, I have no doubt, found it very helpful to get these further revenues to tap. Therefore, I hope that I am not raising any general issue of controversy when I say that the machinery which has been proved in the field of television is being used as the model, with this one exception, and some minor ones, for the scheme proposed, after a good deal of thought, in the Bill.
I do not need to spend time in arguing the theme about local radio generally. I think that this is generally accepted in Britain. It is generally accepted that interest in local affairs and in local government, which we must all admit is not in many parts of the country as intense as we should like it to be, will be stimulated, and that local feeling, local patriotism, local interests, would be well served by local radio.
In respect of London, there is the very special point of the significance of traffic problems and the need to deal with them quickly which makes a medium of quick communication throughout the London area to citizens generally of very considerable value. There is this additional factor, 535 therefore, which makes local radio in London of very particular importance.
I must face the point—I come to it now—that this proposal differs from the experiment which the Postmaster-General is conducting in, I think I am right in saying, eight provincial cities, in respect of the method of financing. The proposal here is that the expenses of operation should be ultimately financed out of advertising revenue. I do not want to detain the House by a long doctrinal argument about whether sound radio should in general be financed out of advertising. It is a matter on which opinions differ. I do not think that it is necessary to argue the general case this evening.
I would only say, in passing, that I myself have never been quite able to see why, if advertising is a proper financial support for television, it is an improper one for radio; or, indeed, to see why if advertising is a proper financial support for the Press, including all the most serious journals—The Times, the Economist, and the rest of them—it should be improper support for radio broadcasting. I do not need to argue that general case which, I think, in any case is inappropriate to private legislation.
The circumstances of London are special, in view of the very large area and the very high concentration of population in it, the obviously high cost compared with services in a provincial area of providing such a service, and also, if one is considering alternative means of finance, the high level—touching a sore point—of London rates and the undesirability of adding to them. Therefore, I am not asking the Postmaster-General to swallow his principles or his general argument, though I notice that his White Paper does not rule out advertising as a means of support. It is admirably fair and judicial on the point.
I am asking the House to consider simply this proposal as private legislation in respect of London, in respect of which, after a good deal of thought, this method of financing is suggested. Whatever the Postmaster-General's own views, may it not be the case that alongside his present experiment in the provinces on another basis of financing it would be a very useful experiment to see how we got on in London on this basis so 536 that a comparison between the two methods of financing to see which were the advantages and which the disadvantages would in due course become possible?
There is no doubt but that there is a real demand for a service of this sort, apart from the practical points I have mentioned, such as traffic management. Radio Caroline and the other illegal activities have at least indicated that there is a very strong demand for musical programmes. The House will also want to weigh the fact that the elected representatives in London in local government have decided that this is the way that they, as elected representatives of the locality, would like to see this service provided.
I know that the Press has some apprehensions from the point of view of advertising revenue. I have the greatest regard for the local Press, particularly in London, and especially because we are very well served in this respect in my constituency. But I do not believe that the Press stands to suffer from this. Nor is this view universal in the journalistic world. Indeed, as I understand, both evening and local newspapers in London are very interested in the opportunity of participation in this service.
There is something complementary between the mass of small advertisements which are carried in, and which are the main source of revenue of, the local newspapers and the totally different type of advertisement, designed for a wide public on a very short-time basis, which is alone suitable for radio. There is a great deal to be said for the view that local radio, by stimulating interest in local news, will stimulate the demand for local newspapers and so help them, both directly on their circulation and indirectly in respect of their advertising.
I leave it with the House that this is not intended to be anything but helpful in respect of the local Press, and that the Greater London Council would take it very much amiss if it thought that any damage would result. Indeed, it seems that the contrary will be the case.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)
Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the very experienced view of the Director of the Newspaper Society as to the effect on local newspapers?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Yes, and I have also considered the contrary views put forward on behalf of the Society of British Advertisers. This is a technical and expert matter. My experience has taught me that technical and expert opinions are apt to differ. I have already conceded that there are contrary views. It at least comes to this, that the evidence is very far from being one way on the matter. I will leave that aspect of it there.
There is provision, quite properly, for the Greater London Council to obtain some of the proceeds after the expenses of the Authority have been met. It is intended and desired to use these for purposes for which finance otherwise might well not be forthcoming in connection with the council's ever-increasing concern with patronage of the arts—the need and desirability of helping young painters and encouraging young and progressive artistic developments. There is a wish to use the proceeds from this source for this purpose to an extent which perhaps might not be proper if it were placed upon the rates.
You, Mr. Speaker, have indicated that you are not calling the reasoned Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Mr. Weatherill). I might, however, just refer to the question of religious minorities. It is intended that the Authority should set up a religious advisory committee, whose job would be to ensure that all religions of any considerable following, or even quite small following, should get their proper share in representation. Certainly, a high degree of religious tolerance is the wish of the Greater London Council, as I am sure it would be of the House. The Bill contains provisions on the lines of the Television Act for maintaining standards of propriety, decency and tolerance, and I hope that the House will think they are adequate. If it does pot so think, they can well be improved in Committee.
This is a serious proposal, put forward by a great local authority. The question for the House is—is this a matter which should, having been carefully thought out and presented to the House by the greatest local authority in the country, be given the proper treatment for a Private Bill—consideration by one of our Select Committees? I hope 538 that the House will come to the conclusion that that is the right procedure and that we should reserve our own final decisions until, as the result of the report of one of our Select Committees, we are better informed than we are tonight.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I remind the House that, as it can see, many hon. Members wish to speak in the debate. I hope that speeches will be reasonably brief.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Roebuck (Harrow, East)
Contrary to the views expressed by the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), I believe that if it were enacted this Measure would have a most serious effect on local weekly newspapers. It is, therefore, perhaps appropriate if I declare a very indirect interest as a newspaperman, although it is many years since I was financially engaged in any way with local weekly newspapers and I have never had any financial connection with weekly newspapers in the Greater London area.
The right hon. Gentleman suggested that we should let the Bill proceed through the normal stages, but I do not take that view. It is a thoroughly bad Bill which should not be given the dignity of death by a thousand cuts in Committee, but should be snuffed out at 10 o'clock tonight in the Division Lobby.
The motive force for the Bill is not that of providing a wide variety of entertainment, information or culture for Londoners, but of providing private profit for a small number of individuals who will package rubbishy entertainment for the people of London. That is why the Bill commands so much support from hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is a long time since the traditions of service to the community and noblesse oblige fled from the benches opposite. They fled with the influx of what a noble Lord has described as the hard-faced men who now dominate the Conservative Party. That is what the Bill is all about. It is an attempt to make private profit for a small number of individuals.
If the Bill became an Act, the consequences would be as follows. First, it would implant the kiss of death on a number of local newspapers in London 539 because their advertising would be drained off to the new medium. This would reduce the sources of news about local affairs, and have a most unhappy effect on local democracy. There are already far too few local newspapers in the Greater London area; some boroughs have only one. The result of the Bill's being passed would be that those members would be reduced still more drastically, and the public life of the Londoner would in consequence be made much worse.
The second ill-effect I see from the passage of the Bill would be that it would open the door to other councils dominated by the same sort of people as now dominate the Greater London Council, and we should have a number of similar Measures, with disastrous results all over the land. That would threaten much of our local and provincial Press, to which some hon. Gentlemen opposite pay lip service when it pleases them and when they think that it is in their political interests to do so. It is recognised both by the Newspaper Society, which represents the newspaper owners, and by the National Union of Journalists, that this would happen, because the sources of advertising are not inexhaustible. It is impossible for us to have a vibrant local Press and local commercial radio. One can have one or the other, but certainly not both.
The right hon. Gentleman told us that he did not think the local newspapers need worry about advertising, but did not produce any facts to substantiate that argument.
§ Mr. R. Gresham Cooke (Twickenham)
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has ever been to America, but there he would find very strong local radio and a very strong local Press as well.
§ Mr. Roebuck
I will come to the hon. Gentleman's point shortly. I was about to advance to it and give the House some facts about advertising.
At present, 42 per cent. of the advertising revenue in this country goes to the newspaper Press and 23 per cent. to magazines, making 65 per cent. Of the rest, television takes 25 per cent. and posters 8 per cent., and 1 per cent. goes to Radio Luxembourg and 1 per cent. to the cinemas. If we are to have commercial 540 radio it is clear to me that there must be a switch of some of that advertising revenue from newspapers to the wireless.
In Japan, 5 per cent. of all advertising is taken by commercial radio. In Australia, the figure is 10 per cent., and in the United States the wireless takes 9 per cent. If there were a switch of that nature in this country many local newspapers which at present only just manage to exist would go out of existence. It is no good the right hon. Gentleman talking about the participation of some newspapers in schemes like this. It is clear that not all could participate, and even those which did would not be recompensed for the amount of advertising they would lose under this sort of Measure. If the right hon. Gentleman does not believe that, I suggest that he should talk to some of the people in the Newspaper Society about it.
No one suggests, I hope, that local radio does not have a most important part to play in the life of the community. I believe that it does, because by local radio a new lease of life can be given to many community activities such as amateur dramatics and choirs. But it can never be a substitute for the local weekly newspaper covering local events, particularly council affairs, in great depth. The news bulletin, which one presumes there would be on local radio under this Bill, would be a fleeting thing; it would be ephemeral. People would listen and perhaps forget; but they have their local weekly newspaper in the house all week, and they can refer to it and talk about it to their friends. If the local newspaper went out of existence in exchange for this sort of medium, the public would suffer greatly.
If local radio were established by commercial interests I cannot see those interests wanting to foster and sponsor such things as local dramatic society performances and local choirs. They would not want that sort of thing at all. They would want a packaged, canned, saccharin sort of product from the United States.
Therefore, I believe that the right way to proceed with local radio is along the lines of the experiments now being conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation, in which my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General takes such a keen 541 interest. These experiments are going on in many places, including Brighton, Merseyside, Sheffield and Leeds, with the active co-operation of the local Press. The indications are that the experiments are very successful. These services, which are complementary to those of the local Press, are no threat to the Press because they do not drain away advertising revenue. The experiments are backed by both the Newspaper Society and the National Union of Journalists.
I wonder why there is such haste by the Greater London Council to produce such a Bill now. Would not it have been far wiser to wait until we could evalauate these experiments? Possibly the Conservatives are in such a great hurry because they think that they will lose the next council elections in Greater London, and want to get the Bill on to the Statute Book beforehand. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may wish to advance other reasons.
You have asked for short speeches, Mr. Speaker, so I conclude by saying that I believe that under the Bill the public at large would get no benefit, but that there is a distinct possibility of fortunes being made by a small number of people. For those reasons, I ask my hon. Friends and right-minded hon. Members opposite to join me in the Division Lobby later to defeat the Measure, which I believe is obnoxious and harms the public interest.
§ 7.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Weatherill (Croydon, North-East)
We have listened to a rather hysterical outburst from the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck). One wonders how out of touch people can be. Evidently he does not remember the outcry aroused as a result of the closing down of the so-called pirate radio stations. They proved the need for and popularity of services other than those provided by the B.B.C.
I have not heard, certainly in my part of the world, that local newspapers oppose the scheme in any way. Indeed, my understanding is that at least two major London newspapers are strongly in favour of the Bill.
You have allowed me, Mr. Speaker, to speak to the Instruction which I put down and, since the point is a narrow one, I can accede to your request that 542 speeches be brief. I do not wish the House to take it from my having put down the Instruction that I am in any way opposed to the Bill. I strongly support it. In my view, it is exceedingly important that our capital city should have a radio station, or two radio stations, of its own. It is high time that this happened. I take comfort from what my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) said about the Advisory Committee on Religious Broadcasting, and it is about that that I shall now speak.
The eight experimental stations which have already been set up have proved popular. They provide a service to the communities which they cover, and they fill a gap which, inevitably, the national networks cannot fill. The great advantage of local radio is that it engenders a kind of community spirit, and it can and does cater for minority interests and groups. In putting down my Instruction, I had in mind the minority religious interests.
In starting a new venture, we have a new opportunity to interpret the "main stream" theme of policy which was laid down about 50 years ago in circumstances very different from today. In paragraph 282, the Pilkington Committee said of this policy:The concept provides, in our view, a useful practical device; but there is a risk that it will be too narrowly interpreted. Nor can we ignore the fact that the question of what churches are in the 'main stream' is determined by the B.B.C., and by the I.T.A., after consultation with the C.R.A.C. This leads to the anomaly that responsibility for recommending the continued exclusion of churches seeking admission to the 'main stream' rests with representatives of those churches already included.In other words, in this narrow field we have a kind of monopoly situation.
We live now in a different kind of age in which many new religions and religious beliefs have grown up. Therefore, I hope that if the Bill goes forward to the Select Committee and is ultimately passed time will be found in religious programmes not only for the old "main stream" churches but also for large minorities such as the Jews and the newer churches—I use the word in its broadest sense—such groups as the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and, in particular, perhaps, the Christian Scientists who one might almost 543 say form a kind of main stream church nowadays, with about 3,000 churches all over the world and an internationally famous and respected newspaper. If the Bill is passed, the Christian Scientists would have 70 or 80 churches within the area which it would cover.
My object, therefore, is to urge that we widen the interpretation of the theme of "main stream" churches, including the newer religions and beliefs and also, since London is such a cosmopolitan city, religions which are much older even than Christianity—Hinduism, Buddhism and Mahommedanism. At a time when we are seeking to create harmony, a better understanding of one another's religious beliefs and religions would go a long way to help.
We all believe in choice. In my view, it should go beyond purely material things. I recognise that the point I make is narrow, but I believe it to be important, and I hope that it will commend itself to the House.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Terence Boston (Faversham)
I was sorry that in an otherwise characteristically moderate speech the hon. Member for Croydon, North-East (Mr. Weatherill) saw fit to attack my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck) for his passionate speech. My hon. Friend feels passionately on this matter. It is no bad thing to feel passionately and to express oneself passionately on some subjects. I noted also the moderate tone in which the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) spoke in opening the debate, a bit deceptively moderate, I thought, because in its very moderation it avoided, for reasons which he explained, the central issue regarding the establishment of local radio stations, whether commercial or non-commercial. For a reason which I shall develop in a moment, I regard this as an issue which cannot be avoided, even though we are dealing here with one specific proposal relating to one part of the country.
I am one of the group of hon. Members who have joined in pressing for local radio stations. I was interested to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that it is now widely accepted that local broadcasting has a considerable part to play. I share 544 his view. I am certain that it has. Yet this development has taken place over a comparatively short time. In a lot of the evidence presented to the Pilkington Committee it was said that there was not much support in various parts of the country for the idea of local broadcasting. Those of us who have for a long time felt, as I believe the right hon. Gentleman has, that local broadcasting could play a useful part both in broadcasting developments and in serving the community sometimes forget that there was in the past that tendency not to regard it as a popular move.
However, the last few years, and the past 18 months in particular, have shown that once one starts some form of venture of this kind one begins to see what the response really is. There has been a very real response to the local broadcasting experiments to which my hon. Friend referred. I was delighted when this Government decided to give the B.B.C. the go-ahead for the local radio experiment instituted in November, 1967. Perhaps I should declare an interest here—not a financial one I hasten to add—in that I worked for the B.B.C. for some time.
The eight local radio stations set up since November, 1967, in various parts of the country have already had considerable success. There is no doubt that the case for local radio stations has been well and truly established. It was suggested that some before they were set up that they would deal solely in news bulletins and that one would have endless news throughout the day. In fact, these eight stations have demonstrated that they can produce a great variety of programme material, gathering in people to participate on a whole range of different forms of entertainment and topic.
It is clear from a recent speech by Lord Hill of Luton, Chairman of the B.B.C. Board of Governors—whose views will surely appeal to hon. Members opposite—that the response has been very good He said:One of the most encouraging aspects of the local radio experiment is the lively reaction it has provoked from audience. In the local stations the telephone is never silent and the post is always heavy.Better still, the door is constantly being pushed open by listeners coming to express their views over the air about some current local controversy.545 Lord Hill was referring to one of the most successful stations, Radio Leeds, which has shown outstanding enterprise in the organisation of its programmes. One of the most significant things about the response to these local stations has been the considerable measure of response from the young as well as from older people.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)
But the response which the hon. Gentleman rightly describes can only come from people who happen to have V.H.F. sets.
§ Mr. Boston
That is the case at the moment, but I do not want now to go into the question of wavelength problems, which are considerable. What has emerged since local stations were established—and this is a point which we must bear in mind—is the substantial growth in the purchases of V.H.F. sets.
The station at Leeds has, in addition to its response from others, been having a substantial response from young people. Before these stations were established the sceptics were saying that they would not fulfil a need for the younger people. This has been amply demonstrated as not true, particularly in the experiment which Radio Leeds ran only a few weeks ago in handing over to teenagers in the city the running of the station on a particular occasion.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East mentioned, the local broadcasting experiment being carried out by the B.B.C. is to be evaluated and we expect that my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General will be making a statement about the outcome in due course. Then will be the time to decide the whole future of local sound stations. What are we being asked to do in this Bill, however? This is where the right hon. Gentleman narrowed his argument too greatly. We are being asked to deal with London in isolation, and this in itself poses very big questions. If we are to set up local broadcasting at all, we have to do it for the country as a whole, dealing with the whole principle, including whether or not we set it up on a commercial or non-commercial basis or as a mixture of the two. It also poses the question of how many stations.
There have been one or two remarkable suggestions, notably by the Shadow 546 Postmaster-General—not even now taken up by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition—for 100 commercial stations. We would need to know in which places or areas these stations would be set up. There would be the problem to which the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Eldon Griffiths) has alluded—that of wavelengths, which is a very important point. There is also the whole question of the sources of finance. Again, there are the matters to which my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East referred—the position of the local Press and of how the stations would be made publicly accountable.
It would be quite wrong to deal with this important development in broadcasting in only one part of the country in isolation. Further—and here I may offend some of my hon. Friends from London constituencies, although I hope not—I think that it would be far better, once we start establishing local broadcasting stations on a permanent basis, to begin with other parts of the country than London.
London has the benefit already of a great many things which other centres do not have in the form of entertainment. A lot of the existing radio and television programmes are geared to this part of the country, and there is no reason why not, since it contains one-sixth of the population. But Londoners can already enjoy a variety of things and it would, therefore, be better, once we start establishing permanent stations, to start building them in other parts of the country. I am doubtful, at this early stage at least, whether a London radio station would be a good thing, because London is more of a region than a locality. I doubt whether, at the moment, London as a whole is really suitable for a local radio station.
The Bill contains some reference to the possibility of more than one programme being transmitted, although there is a useful provision which would avoid conflict. What would be unfortunate would be a proposal for a whole series of radio stations serving different localities in London. Only limited resources are available for the country as a whole to devote to any particular venture, of which the proposal for London radio is just part. To set up local broadcasting in meaningful terms for London would mean a series of stations, and 547 that would involve giving London a disproportionate amount of the resources available. There may be a case later on for establishing a station or stations in London but not at first.
My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East referred to the question of whether there should be a commercial basis for local radio. Far too many people are apt to give the impression that if local radio were to be set up on a commercial basis the public would be getting it free of charge. A lot of humbug and hypocrisy is spoken on this point. Of course the listeners would be paying for it just as they would if we set up public service broadcasting. They would be paying for it through the goods they bought because of the cost of advertising, which would be increased. This point should be made clear to the public.
My hon. Friend also referred to the views of the local newspapers. I share his fears that commercial radio would undoubtedly syphon off advertising revenue. The Press is not in a very strong financial position and there is no doubt that the limited amount of advertising revenue available in the localities would largely be syphoned off by local radio stations operating on a commercial basis. The bulk of the evidence given by the local Press interests to the Pilkington Committee was against the setting-up of local commercial stations.
One of the pieces of evidence, given as it happens by a director of a newspaper in my constituency, the late W. R. H. Coleman, a director of Walter J. Cole Limited, was:Such stations would directly compete with 'local' newspapers for their revenue with the possibility of casualties on both sides.…Any diminution of revenue would result—and has already resulted in the case of the many newspapers which have closed down—in large scale unemployment, since the size of newspapers is directly related to the quantity of advertising.… since the B.B.C. could possibly improve the present regional services by the establishment of a limited number of additional stations, I believe most 'local' newspapers would be content to give their support to this, subject to a review after five years. I do.That is just one quote from the many pieces of evidence submitted to the Pilkington Committee.
It is significant that more recently local newspaper interests have not changed 548 their views as a whole. It is worth giving in some detail the statement made by Mr. William G. Ridd, a director of the Newspaper Society, when he said in a letter to the Financial Times on 1st January:According to an economic survey of 108 provincial newspaper companies conducted for the Newspaper Society by independent accountants, 20 per cent. of the companies surveyed would have made a loss (before tax) if those companies had lost 10 per cent. of their advertising revenue. … No uncertainty about that. It is conservative to estimate a mere loss of 10 per cent. advertising revenue from the introduction of a competitive medium in the form of commercial local radio. …The Newspaper Society does not retract from its long-held view that the B.B.C. should continue to conduct local radio.That is an authoritative view from local newspaper interests.
Another important matter is that of local authority control. There is no doubt that many of us would feel that local authorities should play a part in the running of local stations if they were set up and in the contributions being made to them. But it would be a dangerous departure to put the whole of the control into the hands of local authorities. As is clear from the Bill, a local authority would have the ultimate sanction, because Clause 3 and the Schedule provide for the appointment of the chairman and deputy chairman and other members by the authority. This would be a powerful position for local authorities in this influential medium. While one would hope that local authorities will play a part when local broadcasting stations are set up on a permanent basis, it would be a great mistake if local authorities were to have the overall control.
I come finally to the running of the stations themselves. This is a sensitive medium, and I mean "sensitive" in political terms. Over the years the B.B.C. and, more recently, the I.T.A. have established a whole series of safeguards and procedures for making sure that programmes are balanced politically, both in terms of subject matter and content and participants. If we were to have a multiplicity of commercial stations all over the country, it would be difficult to see that each station at all times maintained a careful political balance. For that reason, I would much prefer local broadcasting stations, when 549 they are set up, to be set up under the aegis of the B.B.C.., so that they can have the built-in safeguarding procedure which the B.B.C. has established over the years.
For the reasons I have given, I believe that it would be wrong to consider this part of the country in isolation, and I therefore hope that the Bill will be rejected. However, I look forward to hearing from my right hon. Friend a little later in the year, and I hope that he will allow the B.B.C. to go ahead with permanent local stations.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Silvester (Walthamstow, West)
I begin by declaring an interest in that I am employed by an advertising agency, but in that respect I have no financial interest in the Bill, because we are specifically excluded from taking any part in the authority which may be set up. It may be useful for me to refer to the advertising side of the Bill, because I have been impressed by the completely wrong interpretation of the way in which the Bill would affect radio, television and the Press which has been inferred by the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Boston) and the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck).
They have both described a situation envisaging a sort of static world of advertising, a sort of static activity in which we use simply the media to which we have become accustomed. This is a false interpretation. Advertising has traditionally extended, and I hope will continue to extend itself, into new media as they become available. Provided it conducts itself properly, there is nothing but advantage to the public in its extension in that way. Both hon. Members fell into the fallacy of attributing to the introduction of new media trends which would have continued in any case.
For example, most of us would regret the demise of general interest magazines like the old Picture Post. It died after the introduction of independent television, but it would be unwise to attribute that demise to the introduction of independent television. The circulation figures for the magazine before the introduction of independent television show that between 1949 and 1956 its readership fell from 9.6 million to 5 million. The hon. Memmer for Faversham quoted figures in 550 connection with local papers just balanced between profitability and loss. I wonder whether he could take those figures and give a reasonable interpretation of what is to happen to those newspapers with or without the introduction of commercial radio.
Unfortunately, some of the very small local newspapers will inevitably decline, but the introduction of local commercial radio will not accelerate that decline. The sort of advertising revenue of which we are talking for Greater London radio is likely to be less than that already creamed off the market when Radio Caroline and Radio London were at work, and it would be difficult to show that more local newspapers were killed as a result of the introduction of those radio programmes.
§ Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)
Would not the hon. Gentleman concede that those radio stations were cheating, that they cheated those who provided the music by making no contribution to them, as the B.B.C. and the I.T.V. regularly do? That was the real crime of the pirates.
§ Mr. Silvester
I am not discussing the crime of the pirates. All I am saying is that the total revenue devoted, perhaps improperly, to succouring the pirates was not responsible for the killing of any local newspapers.
I agree with the hon. Member for Harrow, East that the effect on local newspapers is the most important aspect of the matter. The figures for regional newspapers show that they held a 20 per cent. share of total advertising revenue over the last seven years, and they have held this share at a time when advertising revenues have been increasing, so that the total of advertising revenue available to them has increased from £44 million to £87 million. About £40 million of this comes from classified advertising.
I do not believe, and I doubt whether many hon. Members believe, that the local radio station will take a predominant share of that advertising. If there is a danger to this market, and the figures bear this out, it comes not from local radio but from the highly specialised development of trade and technical magazines. The growth in the share of classified advertising is particularly marked 551 here. That arises because there is an increased demand for specialisation. This Bill proposes that there should be one or two radio stations to cover the whole of London, and I do not believe that these will be a contender for this advertising. Where local newspapers will be most vulnerable is in display advertising, which accounts for just about the other half of their income.
Here again, in the last few years they have held their share. Their share declined last year, as did their total income, but that was primarily the result of the squeeze which hit advertising as a whole in 1967. Taking the share of the gross national product which has been taken by advertising, it has been growing from 1957 up to 1966. It fell back in 1964 but that hit all newspapers, not only local ones.
There is some evidence from what happened after the introduction of Independent Television that the fears which had been expressed then were not justified. As a result of the increase in media available there has been an increase in the total amount of advertising placed. I am not saying that one or two specific newspapers in specific areas will not go under. They may well do, but not because of anything arising from this Bill. It is possible to envisage a campaign which would use local radio in London for a chain of stores, for example, operating in the area, and which would also require to be backed up by advertising for a specific local store in the local newspaper.
Contrary to what the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Boston) was saying, that it is too big, the danger to local newspapers would come if the area became too narrow. Then there would be a real chance of local newspapers suffering. It is for this reason that I urge this House to accept this Bill in respect of the Greater London Council. In Greater London the situation is totally different from towns operating under the present B.B.C. scheme. There is a very large area, providing totally different circumstances. It would provide an opportunity to see whether there is a really viable case for a commercial radio station over a substantial area. The hon. Member for Faversham said that we should not start 552 in London because it is not fair. There are a lot of things going on in London. Why should London have all the joy? This is a deplorable attitude. I am not saying that we can do only this now, and something else perhaps a few years later. I want to see the thing moving.
I have no objection to the eight stations continuing if they are a success, and the reports I have heard are that they are a whale of a success. By all means let them go on, but I cannot see that the argument should extend to the stifling of this opportunity which the Greater London Council wishes to create.
I have spoken a lot about local papers, but we ought also to consider the local population. It is common ground in this House that the need for local radio is well-established. The sort of flair which was developed by the iniquitous pirates in commercial radio was also well recognised. It has certainly been adopted, to some extent, by Radio 1. At my by-election I had a candidate who stood solely on the grounds of "Let's have pop pirate radio".
§ Mr. Silvester
He lost his deposit, but that was only because I had the farsightedness to support him in that. We have obviously come a long way since the debates in the House on the Television Act, 1964, when someone said that the Bill was the enemy of a reasonable culture in broadcasting and television. I do not think that anyone believes that commercialism has that effect. The introduction of advertising clearly has to be very carefully controlled. At least three Clauses in the Bill are devoted to the careful control of advertising and of the programmes. This is a reasonable way of going about it.
The hon. Member for Harrow, East should not use emotive terms like "packaged canned stuff from America". If he reads the Bill he will see that there is a provision in it for the adequate use of British material.
I have, therefore, three reasons for supporting the Bill. The first is because a great authority, properly elected, even if hon. Members opposite do not like it, wants to try an experiment which will harm no one. That is a perfectly laudable activity for a local authority. Secondly, it is providing a service which 553 the public clearly wants and one which is likely to be provided more slowly if we leave it to the B.B.C. and local authority-supported stations. The third reason, and it is the least of my reasons, is that it may provide revenue which could be used for the arts and local bodies. It is the least of the reasons, because I do not think that the sums involved will be very substantial.
For these reasons, I hope that the House will give this Bill a Second Reading.
§ 8.16 p.m.
§ Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Silvester) upon a courtesly delivered speech, and I must also congratulate the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter). I know that when he wishes he can deliver a speech in a most ferocious and thrusting fashion. It usually means, when he delivers his arguments in that way, that he is very confident about what he is saying. This evening he was very beguiling and I wondered whether it was because he knew that he had to put over a difficult case and was hoping that by being moderate and appealing for understanding he might "pull a fast one".
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman does not succeed. He did not refer a great deal to the commercial aspect of the Bill. People who enter into this sort of activity are not primarily concerned with either the status or the standing of the service they provide, but, quite rightly, are in it to make money. Here I congratulate Lord Thomson of Fleet, who said that a licence to run commercial television was a licence to print money. He has never retracted that remark. It now seems as if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite want to "get in on the act", with a licence to print not so small change.
This view is not confined to Members on this side of the House. The Confederation of British Industry is jointly responsible with the International Publishing Corporation for the editorial policy of British Industry Week. In a feature article, on 18th April, entitled "Broadcasting's Future: Freedom or Licence?", it had this to say in its conclusions: 554Can an Independent Broadcasting Authority effectively restrain commercial local radio from following the appalling examples of American radio and dragging B.B.C. Radio after it? The answer probably lies in one's view of human nature. The Conservative case is not helped by the knowledge that many of the loudest propagandists for local commercial radio stand to gain financially from its inception.We have to look at this very carefully. We are creating something new in broadcasting. Although it angers me at times and irritates me at others, I am, nevertheless, proud that it was we who provided one of the finest forms of broadcasting the world has ever seen—the B.B.C. What is more, the B.B.C. has changed its character to meet the times without changing its integrity. That is vital.
While I agree that local broadcasting would be good in principle, we must examine the matter in the context of the national interest. Once we say that, we are confronted with many questions. Some right hon. Members opposite have seemed almost to imitate a fifth-rate bingo caller in crying out that the number of stations should be 100 and without saying why it should not be 99 or 101. This is not a sensible way of dealing with an important question like the establishment of local radio. We must ask how many stations and what areas are to be covered.
My hon. Friend the Member for Faversham (Mr. Boston) pointed out the difference between a city like Leeds or Leicester, which, I understand, has one of the experimental stations, and a large conurbation like London. If local radio is established, I hope that we shall have one in the Borough of Ealing which will not necessarily come under the control of the G.L.C. or be directed by the G.L.C. That would be having direct local control over a proper form of local radio. I hope that some hon. Members agree with that, irrespective of whether it is run commercially or by the B.B.C.
My hon. Friend the Member for Faversham touched on the question of limited wavelengths. This can be a dry aspect of debate, but I am sure that hon. Members on both sides will acknowledge that the effect on national broadcasting of the use of wavelengths for local purposes is an extremely important aspect. We cannot dismiss these problems too lightly. We should give them the degree of importance to which they are entitled.
555 For whose benefit would local radio be established? Would it be for somebody to make money out of advertising or for the community it is to serve?
§ Mr. Gresham Cooke
Would the hon. Gentleman ask exactly the same question about local newspapers? Do not they live on advertising? Would the hon. Gentleman take away the right of local newspapers to go on "printing money"?
§ Mr. Molloy
It is a nasty slur on the people in the printing industry to say that they have been printing money. I quoted a statement by a noble Lord. There is no analogy between local newspapers and the power of broadcasting. I hope to say a few words about that later.
In the medium of broadcasting, we must pay attention to public accountability. We must ask: public accountability by whom and to whom? We must ask how local radio can best serve the local communities for which it is designed. Parliament has a responsibility in this context. I part company from the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames in looking at this matter in the narrow context of London. I do not mean that London is a narrow context, but we have a responsibility from the point of view of the nation as a whole to make sure that we create something good which can spread throughout the country.
Therefore, the interests of local communities must be taken into consideration. Surely we must define those local communities. The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames would say that Kingston has many interests which might be similar to, but not exactly the same as, those in Ealing. I should like to see local broadcasting based on the Borough of Kingston or say on the Borough of Ealing. This is an argument not primarily against the idea of local broadcasting, but for not automatically accepting that the Greater London area is the local community.
I have posed a number of questions, and I believe that an effort has already been made to find some of the answers. I refer to points which have been made about the experiment being made by the B.B.C. In November, 1967, the B.B.C. 556 launched its local radio experiment. I understand that eight stations are transmitting. Let us consider briefly how they function and how they are organised. I understand that each station serves its own town and area and cannot be heard outside its area. This is what encourages me in the view that there could be local radio for Kingston and local radio for Ealing. That might be a possibility. It is worth investigating. The experiments now taking place will help the right hon. Gentleman and myself in assessing the practicality of what I am proposing.
From the reports that we have had, the stations generally have been a success. Here we have common ground. Both sides of the House are ready to accept that the principle of local radio is good and we can be assured in our judgment by the experiment being carried out by the B.B.C. These local stations have stimulated discussion on a vast number of local problems and matters of local interest. No doubt they have also committed some errors. Probably some mistakes have been made. Let us consider these matters in detail so that when the service is expanded we can enhance those things which are fine and which should be enhanced and rectify the errors and eliminate the things which have gone wrong.
The basic concept is that each station should reflect the character of its own neighbourhood. There should be a local broadcasting council to keep an eye on what is going on, to which representations could be made and which would be generally responsible and answerable for policy.
What is happening in the local radio experiment might not be possible if local radio were to be run on a commercial basis. The existing eight local radio stations are entitled to the free use of programmes from the four national networks of the B.B.C. This is an important aspect. I also believe that to the extent that there is no direct interest in a particular aspect by those who run the local broadcasting, this can be a very good thing.
My idea of local radio broadcasting is that it should reflect the interests of the people in their ordinary associations. In the Borough of Ealing we have a number of local associations in Northolt and Greenford, including, for example, the 557 British Legion and the gardening association. These local associations, however, could not have a proper say in a designated area as large as Greater London.
In an emergency, the local radio can sometimes play a great part. In Northolt and Greenford, for example, we were opposed to the former Conservative Government's proposals for a D-ring road. We continued our opposition when the present Government took over. We were helped enormously by our local newspapers. By presenting the case and explaining the issue to people, local radio could have made its contribution, but I doubt whether it could do so properly had the area which it served been too large.
The argument has been whether local radio should be commercial or should be run on B.B.C. lines. I prefer the latter, but there is another reason to be considered. Is it not a fact that in the nation today we have a welter of advertising? Wherever one goes, there is some form of advertising. I am not opposed to advertising. I believe that we must have it. We have almost the two extremes, from the dignified to the absurd and from the responsible to the repugnant.
We see advertising on trains, the underground, buses, cartons, papers, magazines, television and the rest and I believe that at some stage we ought to say that this is enough. I believe that it is enough and that if people in advertising were challenged about it they, too, would agree. It is also costing the country an enormous amount of money.
There is also a real danger to local newspapers and I do not see why we should destroy one element of the local media in creating another. I hope, therefore, that having enjoyed the high quality of broadcasting which has been provided on a national scale by the B.B.C., we do not rush in foolishly and establish a commercial system which cannot attain those high standards. We should allow the experiment to continue and properly examine in depth the future of local broadcasting. What we do in the establishment of local radio could either enhance or mar the future. I believe that the experiment should be examined, because it is being produced by a source—the B.B.C.—which is still 558 the pride of this country and the envy of the world.
§ 8.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)
I hope that the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) will forgive me when I say that I thought there was a large dollop of hypocrisy in a great deal of what he said. There is, however, a tendency for hypocrisy to creep into a lot of our speeches on broadcasting. We like to assume that the public as a whole want programmes of a high intellectual level and long for cultural diversification. Unfortunately, however, we have to face the fact that a large part of the public plainly want programmes which I would call trash. A large section of them seems to want continuous pop music, interspersed occasionally with the grunts and mutterings of disc jockeys.
When I drive to the House in the morning I often have to listen to Mr. Jimmy Young's programme which we know runs T.T.T.—Through Till Twelve. Mr. Young's rather inane jocularity I find particularly jarring. But it is of value to me, because I tend to leave my house in a rather somnolent frame of mind, and by the time I arrive here I find that my nerves are jangling and when I go into Committee I am ready to attack Ministers tooth and nail.
My reaction to Jimmy Young is plainly not representative of that of the country as a whole. It is obvious that thousands of housewives like, and indeed adore, the sort of programme that he puts out. What I never want to do is to deprive them of this sort of programme, but what I do not see is why the B.B.C. should pay to put this out.
We know that the B.B.C. is short of money. We know that it has many plans for distinguished programmes covering many subjects which it feels it cannot undertake without a substantial increase in the licence fee or a substantial increase in Government subvention.
It therefore seems right and proper that instead of trying to ape the worst of Radio Caroline, which B.B.C. 1, and, regrettably, part of B.B.C. 2, seems to be doing, there should be a progressive retreat by the B.B.C. from this field. It should concentrate its resources, which are necessarily scarce, and will always be under pressure, 559 into such fields as Radio 3 with the continuous programme of serious music, where the B.B.C. has a contribution to make which no one else can duplicate.
To me, the most serious part of this debate is whether local newspaper interests will be affected. I have been a journalist, and perhaps some of my children will be journalists, and when it comes to a choice between local radio and the local Press, then I say unhesitatingly that I choose the local Press. I think that most hon. Members would do so, because we are dependent to a large extent on local newspapers for communication with our constituents. Local newspapers print our speeches when the national newspapers do not. They inform our constituents that we attended the opening of this school, and the opening of that garden fete, and I should be loath to see the local Press disappear.
I do not believe that the introduction of local broadcasting will have the calamitous effect which some people fear. When local broadcasting comes on a regional basis—and here I share the view expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Silvester) that regional broadcasting is much less of a threat to the members of the newspaper society than real local broadcasting—we will find that the audience for this local broadcasting is a young one.
The advertisers on these stations will aim their advertisements at a youthful section of the community. It will not be the local newspapers but the magazines aimed at that age group in the community which will be affected, and I worry about their fate a great deal less than I worry about the fate of the local newspapers. We shall see a reduction in advertising, but primarily in the magazines catering for adolescents, and we may see a transfer of advertising from Radio Luxembourg, which is not a bad thing, either.
I do not believe that the fears expressed by the hon. Member for Faversham are valid. Nevertheless, there may be some grounds for them, and I therefore suggest that we have an experiment. Before we move to commercial sound broadcasting throughout the country, surely we should have an experiment in one area—and where better than London, because here we have a strong local Press, 560 which is less likely to suffer than is the local Press in most areas if things go wrong, and here we already have an obvious regional identity. We have in London the greatest local authority in the world. When they say that now is the time to go forward with an experiment, we should heed their advice.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)
This will be a relatively brief intervention, and I shall address myself mainly to the speech of the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) in presenting the case for the Bill.
The right hon. Member was at his most reasonable and persuasive and could have deceived anyone about the real nature and purpose of the Measure. At one stage, he even attempted to present it as a contribution to the modernisation of local government. Of course, it is nothing of the kind. Notwithstanding the attractive clothing in which it was dressed by the right hon. Gentleman, the Bill is deeply objectionable to hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is certainly not an extension of municipal ownership—one would not expect that from the Conservative Party—but a means of opening the road to private interests in local radio.
The Bill begs almost all the questions which will face my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General when he evaluates the local radio experiment which has been conducted by the B.B.C. In particular, the Bill begs the questions of finance and of wavelengths. The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) was right to press the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames on the question of wavelengths. The right hon. Gentleman's answer to that question, which involves very complicated issues, was much less than convincing to anyone who has taken a serious interest in it. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that the best use of the limited number of wavelengths available is one of the principal questions which will have to be examined by my right hon. Friend.
On finance, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman for his view on the extent to which the source of finance affects the nature of the service. I should have thought the whole House would agree that the experiment of the B.B.C. in eight 561 localities has been at once exciting and extremely promising for the future. No one could say that any of those eight stations has detracted in any way from the very high standards of the B.B.C. There must be hon. Gentlemen opposite, who have taken a close interest in the B.B.C.'s experiment in their localities, who see the dangers of the Bill and should, in all conscience, allow time for the B.B.C.'s experiment to be properly evaluated before voting for a Bill like this.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Gentleman poses the very pertinent question: does the source of finance affect the quality of the service? Is not the best method to try, and then to contrast an advertisement-financed service in London with the B.B.C.'s otherwise-financed service in the provinces and form an objective judgment on the facts when we know them?
§ Mr. Morris
This is one of the central questions. Those who contribute finance to a service like this will have a loud voice in dictating the policies to be pursued. What I had very much in mind in raising the question of finance was an extract from an article in a recent series in The Guardian about radio in the 'seventies. The author, Vincent Brome, was warning people about the low standards of American radio, under the title "Dread Spectre of U.S." He gave as an illustration the following experience:Listening, on one occasion, to a broadcast of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, as the Ode to Joy came lyrically to its close there was a suitably reverent pause and then I heard a seductive woman's voice murmer huskily—'Would you care to make your arm-pits charm-pits?'For my part, I believe that, in local radio, the commercial element is best excluded.
Evidence has been quoted from the Newspaper Society and from the Confederation of British Industry. I should like to quote what has been said by those employed in the newspaper industry, in a resolution passed by an overwhelming majority at the annual conference of the National Union of Journalists in Douglas, Isle of Man, on 18th April last. The resolution said:That this Annual Delegates' Meeting opposes the introduction of local commercial radio. It calls on the Government to take 562 steps to introduce local radio on a permanent basis by the B.B.C. It believes that commercial radio would be the death knell of many local newspapers.So it is not just the opposition of the Newspaper Society that we have to consider. The employees of the newspaper industry regard measures of this kind as a threat to their livelihood.
I should have thought that all of us admire the local newspapers, which make a significant and valuable contribution to the quality of life in their localities. Thus, I appeal to right hon. and hon. Members opposite to vote according to their real feelings on the Bill. I ask them to have regard to the fact that a local radio experiment is now being evaluated by the B.B.C. and will then be evaluated by the Postmaster-General. Let us not beg questions which must arise in those evaluations.
If we have regard to this important factor, I am certain that the House will reject the Bill.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mrs. Jill Knight (Birmingham, Edgbaston)
I intervene only briefly in the debate because eyes other than Southern Region ones are looking at our discussion with enormous interest. They would be keen to know what was to happen if a Bill relating to London were passed, hoping very much that the principle would spread to their region, too.
There is no doubt that the Government have every intention that the Bill will be defeated. I suppose that this ought to surprise no one. The Government have a perfect penchant for giving the British people neither what they voted for nor what they want. To expect them suddenly to give the people something that they would really like for once would be hoping for too much.
The Bill would give the people in the Greater London area what they want. It is as simple as that. It would give it to them at no cost. In that connection, I take issue with the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Boston). If he went shopping and bought a given product, one brand of which was well advertised and one that was not, he would very likely pay more for the one which was not advertised, because the demand created by advertising tends to keep down prices.
563 We have heard a great deal tonight about local radio, and even hon. Members opposite seem to agree that it has been a success. However, one important point has not been made, and I am amazed if hon. Members opposite do not know it. It is that the money available for local radio is not forthcoming in the amounts which were expected.
The hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) almost threw up his hands in horror at the thought of private interests entering local radio. Either he lives a very sheltered life, or he has not done his homework. Many local businessmen were approached and asked to donate money to run local radio stations.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
My point was about the real nature and purpose of the Bill. It is not to improve local radio. It is an attempt to serve private interests.
§ Mrs. Knight
It is more simple than the hon. Gentleman appears to think. It cannot be accepted that at one moment businessmen are wicked self-seeking capitalists and at the next are good enough to finance local radio. To say that there have been no interests of a private nature in local radio is quite wrong.
In my view, and, I am sure, in the view of the vast majority of people, local broadcasting should be financed by advertising revenue and not out of public funds, from the proceeds of increasing licence fees, which are heavy enough already for a great many, or in any way which pushes up the rates demanded from local residents.
I support the Bill strongly because experience has shown that such competition would improve standards of broadcasting. We have before us the experience of television. Before we had commercial television, the standards of B.B.C. television were very low. It was the competition of commercial television that pushed up those standards and forced the B.B.C. to realise that there was another channel; that people could look elsewhere. It was only that competition which improved the B.B.C.'s television standards.
Reference has been made to the effect of advertising on American radio. Radio there has changed very much in recent months, and I wonder whether any of 564 those who have referred to it in such disparaging terms today have listened to American radio recently. I returned from America only last week. While I was there, I did a very great deal of listening, particularly while I was travelling, and I thought that the intrusion of advertising had very much altered. The wide range of programmes available amply compensated for the small amount of advertising to which I had to listen.
I cannot accept the argument that if we have local commercial radio, local newspapers will die. I am convinced that people will still take their local newspaper for the advertisements, the "small ads" particularly. Listening to a short advertisement on the radio, one does not know whether one has the words just right, and so on. It is far better to have a local newspaper to refer to, particularly for the "small ads". No one would pretend that revenue from these advertisements would be taken from the newspapers by local radio. I have more faith in local newspapers than have hon. Members opposite. Come what may, they will survive, particularly if they have good feature articles.
It has been said from the other side that politics would rear its ugly head in local radio. That is a false accusation against local radio. Advertisers know very well the danger there is in coming down on one side or the other politically, and would not for one moment countenance any imbalance. The danger is much more likely in circumstances where local councils actually control local stations in a manner which the Bill specifically precludes.
I shall, as thousands outside this House would, if they could, support the Bill with keen enthusiasm.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)
What we are arguing about tonight is not the merits or demerits of local radio, but how it should be financed. Before coming to this House in November, I had extensive experience in local Radio Sheffield. As a member of the council, I pushed very hard to get the necessary finance for Radio Sheffield, and then tried to take an active part in it because I was interested in the experiment.
The present method of finance is not good. The sum provided in Sheffield is 565 about £50,000 per annum, and that is high compared with the amount provided for some other local radio stations. It is about the equivalent of ½d. rate. I do not know what is the product of a penny rate in the area of the Greater London Council, but I expect that it will be about £1 million. If I am right, the £½ million produced by ½d. rate would be sufficient to run a local radio station quite adequately.
There are very great dangers involved in asking a local radio station to rely on commercial advertisers to keep its financial head above water. With the present local radio station, there is an air of participation. One might call it a parochial air, but it is the air which people in a city have when they talk of local government, or something like that. I appeared on Radio Sheffield many times. It never entered my head to ask for a fee, or even for my bus fare. I know many people who appeared on local Radio Sheffield who actually lost working time, but never asked for expenses for the couple of hours they lost. The story would be very different if the local radio station were commercial, because then no performer would be prepared to lose time from work in order that a commercial company might make greater profits.
I have heard problems debated on local radio which would not be debated on any commercial programme. One on Radio Sheffield discussed why local shops did not employ coloured assistants. Names were freely bandied about of shops which did or did not do so. That debate would not have taken place if the shops had been paying for the advertising because there would be great pressure from the shops so that they should not be embarrassed by it being known that they were not employing coloured labour. There would be a tendency to shy away from programmes which caused local controversy if they affected local advertising. Advertising Heinz Baked Beans might be all very well, but local shops following a programme which is given regularly for Pakistanis would be difficult. I listen frequently to that programme and I have heard the name "Enoch Powell" mentioned quite often.
I am not particularly worried about the effect on local newspapers, for if there were local commercial radio probably local newspapers would run it. It would 566 not be the local family newspaper that did this, however, but the chains of local newspapers in the provinces. Soon we would be on the slippery path leading to a very few people controlling all the methods of communication. In the cities local radio is doing a well worth while job. It provides a good service to local labour exchanges in giving notice of vacancies. I do not think we would get that on commercial stations. Who would pay for it? In Sheffield every local drama group gets its programmes advertised free and every local school performance or performance by the university groups has a free "plug" in a programme called "Billboard". The help given to these non-profit-making bodies would not be forthcoming from commercial radio because everyone would be expected to pay.
I admit that there are sometimes difficulties over programmes where members of an audience are expected to participate by phoning their views. Sometimes a person might phone, "Don't forget to visit the local Mecca tonight where Big Bill's group is appearing". That is a hazard which one has to accept, but if it happened frequently on a local commercial station people would still be phoning, but not on a direct live line as at present. Somehow this would have to be filtered and prepared before it was broadcast.
People working in local radio are doing a magnificent job. They work very long hours, many more than those in most trade unions or businesses would work. They are dedicated people who are prepared to do anything for their station. For instance, it has been reported when one of these people has finished work and is driving home he may see a fire and he would go back to his local radio station to switch on and report the fire. These people are entitled not to have a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Too often local radios are attacked by local politicians and the B.B.C. makes a poor case in their defence.
We have to get into perspective the cost of local radio. One can be run efficiently at the cost of two libraries, or perhaps three. Would anyone object to the cost of three libraries going on to the rates? Of course they would not. The number of listeners to local radio, even if it is transmitted on V.H.F., is much greater than the number of readers that 567 the two or three local libraries would have.
I believe that the case has not been properly presented for local radio. The educational content of the programmes has not been assessed by local authorities, which two often have tried to make political capital out of it. The time has come for a proper assessment to be made and for the petty political squabbles in relation to local radio to be ended. I hope that a policy decision will be taken soon so that the people working in local radio can be given the stability in their jobs to which they are entitled.
§ 9.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Berry (Southgate)
I am glad to follow the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton), who treated us to his personal knowledge of the running of a local radio station. It is always interesting to listen to somebody who has worked in the institution about which one is talking. However, the hon. Gentleman did not contribute as much to the debate as I would have hoped. He compared the cost of running a local radio station with the cost of running two or three libraries, but he did not say where the money was to come from. I hope to learn from the Postmaster-General before long where all the money for these local stations is to come from.
The hon. Gentleman suggested that local radio stations, if they carried commercial advertising, would not concern themselves with local controversy. That is nonsense. Newspapers involve themselves in controversy all the time, but they carry advertising and they mention shops by name. So I do not think that this point made by the hon. Gentleman was sound or helpful.
We are all in favour of the concept of local radio stations, but what we are not sure about is the form which they should take. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), in an interjection, pointed to our major problem, which is this: why should there not be this second type of local broadcasting at the same time as the other experiment is still proceeding? I should be much happier about the other experiment if I knew where the money was coming from.
568 In the White Paper, the then Postmaster-General listed a number of local bodies and institutions which he hoped would contribute to local stations. I have attempted without success to question him and his successor over the last 18 months. I suppose that we shall now have to wait until later in the year before he tells us exactly where the money is to come from. I still believe that after the initial B.B.C. payment it will come from the ratepayers, although the White Paper emphasises that this is not the Government's intention.
Hon. Members opposite have expressed their very understandable fears about the effect of local radio on newspapers. I can speak from a little personal experience here. I shared their views strongly in another light 15 years ago when commercial television started. I then had great doubts as to what the effect would be on newspapers. In fact, advertising has increased enormously since those days. As one of my hon. Friends so cogently pointed out, the number of classified advertisements has increased to a terrific extent.
The hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Boston) quoted some percentages. I would much rather have heard from the hon. Gentleman what the percentages were over a period on a total figure, because I believe that advertising has risen so much over these years as to indicate that the same thing will happen again, namely, that there will be a greater volume of advertising and the local papers—I, too, am fortunate in having very good ones in my constituency—will not suffer. The fact that the Bill is so carefully worded as to give them a chance of participating in these new local stations will be beneficial to them. I do not think that the effect that local radio will have on local newspapers need worry us. I am convinced that local newspapers will not suffer, although I understand the fears of the Director of the Newspaper Society.
I am delighted to see from the Bill that the programmes are to be of high quality. I am delighted to see from Clause 11 that there are to be advisory committees which will concern themselves with religious programmes, educational programmes, and so on.
569 The last sentence in the very interesting speech made by Lord Hill, from which quotations have already been made, describes so well what we are talking about. Lord Hill said:Moreover, encouragement can always be given to the adventurous to attempt to achieve something new. Experiments do not always work the first time, but they are the only way advances can be made. They are an essential part of the process of aiming at a level of excellence.I believe that by giving the Bill a Second Reading tonight we should give the Greater London Council a chance to achieve that excellence which will be in the interests of all Londoners.
§ 9.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)
I believe that the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster-General will wish to intervene in this debate, so it may be convenient if I say a few words now from the Opposition Front Bench to precede him.
We are the only people in the English-speaking world not to have commercial radio. Therefore, when a local authority, the local authority of our capital city, proposes a scheme of this sort—a pilot scheme, not a pirate scheme—it is right that we should consider it carefully on Second Reading of the Bill. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) reminded us that the Bill will be considered in detail by a Committee well able to sift the facts and judge whether there are any strong objections to a scheme of this kind.
Nevertheless, we can consider at this stage the principle of local authority commercial radio and whether it would be so damaging to our society that we ought not to let a Measure of this sort through on Second Reading. We ought to consider whether we can reasonably obtain the advantages which other countries are obtaining from commercial radio without damage to our way of life here.
When I said that we are the only people in the English-speaking world not to have commercial radio, I did not include in the "we" the Isle of Man. We can turn to the experiment there to see whether it is effective, and whether it is undermining the morals of the public 570 or the finances of the Press in the Isle of Man. The reports which I have are that it is doing neither of the latter.
I am not sure whether the opponents of the Bill really think that it proposes some squalid commercialism. The Postmaster-General will agree that the Post Office itself descends into squalid commercialism, if it be such, in selling advertising space.
§ The Postmaster-General (Mr. John Stonehouse)
The Post Office descends into commercialism, but not into squalid commercialism.
§ Mr. Page
I am pleased to have that confirmation from the right hon. Gentleman. The Post Office uses revenue from advertising space, and it makes use of advertising by all media, including television.
However, we should try to approach this subject without bias or exaggerated phrases—with which, perhaps, I was teasing the right hon. Gentleman rather than being serious. We should approach it without bias on either side. As my hon. Friend the Member for Southgate (Mr. Berry), and my right hon. Friend in an intervention, reminded us, we have in television at present the non-commercial B.B.C. and the commercial I.T.V., and we can compare those two services. On the other hand, we have non-commercial local radio but we have no commercial local radio with which to compare it. If there is no valid objection to trying such a comparison, let us try it through a responsible body such as the Greater London Council.
First, then, is there any valid objection? I do not think that any objection on technical grounds has been put forward in the debate, I understand that there is no objection to London local radio on those grounds, but the Postmaster-General will, no doubt, tell us if there is some technical objection. Second, on the cost aspect, can it be made self-supporting? There is no doubt about that. Indeed, the complaint seems to be that it will make a profit, though whether for the contractors on it or the local authority running it is irrelevant at the moment. That much be sorted out as the administration of the Bill is considered.
571 But I should have thought that it would be very simple for local commercial radio to make a profit on a charge per thousand basis of about 2s. to 2s. 6d.—I understand that Luxembourg charges Is. 6d.—if it provided that service during daylight hours when Luxembourg is not giving a service. There is no doubt that there is a very strong demand for this sort of service, and we should not be hypocritical, as my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) says, about what the demand is. It may be a demand for a type of service to which we do not all enjoy listening. But it is a service which the pirate stations proved was very popular and in great demand.
Thirdly, on the question of whether there is any valid objection, would it cause damage to the legitimate interests such as the newspapers and particularly the local newspapers? I appreciate the arguments of the hon. Members for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck) and Faversham, but I am not sure that they should weigh with us in considering the proposition put forward by the Bill. If radio is a medium which provides more effective advertising in certain spheres than local newspapers, I doubt whether we should by Statute prevent or limit its use. Therefore, I would not base my argument on saying that it will not take any advertising from the local newspapers. I only say that that is not a good argument for local commercial radio. However, we heard a very informed speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Waltham-stow, West (Mr. Silvester), who said that the local Press would not be the loser.
This is a Private Bill, but should we treat it in isolation or as a precedent for something further? Again, we should not be hypocritical. Obviously, if we accept the Bill, it will be a precedent. It will be a model for expansion into other local radio services. I am not afraid to consider it from that point of view—from the point of view of national development.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames said that London was a prototype of regional government. Although my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, West said that it is unique in that there is no other local government body quite like London, we must look 572 forward to regional government in one form or another, and it may well be necessary to consider new forms of revenue for local and regional government. This may be a very useful experiment and precedent in the collection of a new form of local revenue. For that reason, I am not sure that it is wise to earmark this revenue for any particular purpose or to base our argument for the Bill on the belief that any profits made by the local authority will go towards this or that—sport, culture, or whatever it may be. We should try this as a new form of local revenue.
It would follow that the control authority, if appointed by the local authority, might be suspect. I should like to see eventually a control authority centrally appointed for all local radio stations operating on a commercial basis. Such an authority would ensure what the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) wanted—status and standing for the service being provided. One looks to the authority to provide that. But I do not think that anyone is prepared to argue that the status and standing of B.B.C. television is so much greater than that of I.T.V. It is the authority which looks after that and it would do so for local commercial radio.
On a Private Bill, it is traditional for the Opposition Front Bench to sit on the fence. Therefore, I should preface what I am about to say by assuring the House that we have no Whips on this side of the House. But I hope that the House will feel that we can, by this Bill and the activity it will authorise, examine whether that which has suited all other English-speaking countries—local commercial radio—is worth adopting here and that we can give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ The Postmaster-General (Mr. John Stonehouse)
A common thread throughout the speeches on both sides has been support of the concept of regional or local broadcasting. This is a welcome new development. If we had had this debate a few years ago, local radio would not have had the sort of support it has received tonight in most of the speeches. It is a compliment, I believe, to the eight radio station experiment that the B.B.C. has been conducting during the last 18 573 months, and I endorse the compliments paid to that experiment during the debate.
The B.B.C., the staff of the stations and the chairman and their advisory committees in the various localities have done an excellent job. There is no doubt that they have managed to convince not only the public who have the advantage of listening to their programmes, but also a great and wider public, particularly informed and interested authorities in this House, of the advantages of this type of broadcasting.
Despite that common thread, there has been a sharp difference of view about how local broadcasting should be implemented. Most hon. Members opposite who have spoken support the Bill and, through it, are supporting, therefore, the concept of commercial broadcasting. Most of the speeches on this side have been against commercial broadcasting in favour of awaiting the full evaluation of the experiment now being conducted.
The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) made a speech of moderation and has had the tribute of the House for it. He said that there is no reason why the Bill should not go to a Select Committee for further consideration. I beg to disagree with him. I believe that if the House were to give the Bill a Second Reading it would be tantamount to accepting the principle of local authority broadcasting and commercial broadcasting. It would follow that other municipal authorities would want to emulate the example of the G.L.C. and establish similar broadcasting authorities so as to take advantage of the precedent to which the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) fairly referred.
The big objection to the Bill being given a Second Reading is that it would pre-empt the fair evaluation of the local radio experiment being conducted by the B.B.C., with the House of Commons deciding that local radio was to be established by municipal broadcasting authorities and financed by advertising. I believe that the House and the country are not ready to make such a decision before the full facts of the B.B.C.'s experiment are known.
§ Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider accepting 574 the Bill on the basis of a three-year experimental period?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
There are objections to that as well. I detected a note of experiment in several speeches tonight. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the advantage of the experiment in the Bill. The hon. Member for Waltham-stow, West (Mr. Silvester) referred to an experiment. There were several indications of experiment. But I have studied the Bill in detail and I have seen nothing about experiment in it. It would establish a fully fledged Greater London Radio Authority and, as the House well knows, once such authorities are established by law, they develop a momentum of considerable dimensions.
Who could say that the I.T.A. was still an experiment? It is part of our established broadcasting fabric. Similarly, the Greater London Radio Authority, if established, and if, as I think it would be, followed by a Manchester Radio Authority and perhaps a Glasgow Authority, would become an established framework which it would be most difficult, if not unwise at that stage, to attempt to dismantle. So I dismiss the suggestion that this could be considered an experiment, and it would be unwise of the House to approach the subject in that frame of mind. We have to consider the principles which the Bill would establish.
§ Mr. Silvester
Will not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that if the experiment continued, it would do so only because it had been successful? The example of the I.T.A. is a case in point. We would not wish to close down something which had been successful. It is an experiment only in the sense that it is the first. If it were successful, it would continue.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
It would be built upon solid vested commercial interests which would wish it to continue and it would be next to impossible to dismantle it once it had been established for some time. It would, therefore, be unwise for the House to rush in to approve a proposal of this character which, as the hon. Member for Crosby has said, would establish a precedent.
It is important that we approach the eight-station local radio experiment review with a clear mind. If we were 575 to pass the Bill, I doubt whether that review, which I am hoping to conduct in July, could be conducted fairly. The House expects a fair review of that experiment and the station staffs expect a fair review. I was grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) who, in an interesting speech in which he drew on his own experience of the Sheffield experiment, spoke of the dedication of the station staffs to the experiment. If we were to pass the Bill, it would be a blow to those station staffs who have hung on in order to see a fair and complete evaluation of the experiment. They would feel that the ground was being cut from under their feet before the experiment had been correctly evaluated.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that these devoted staffs—and I accept their devotion—would feel badly treated because a totally different system was being operated by way of contrast? If they have confidence in their system, surely they should value the opportunity to contrast it with another system so as to judge which is better.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The local staffs do an outstanding job. One extremely well known local official is Mr. Sidey, of Radio Leeds, who has published some of his ideas, so I think I am entitled to quote his name. There are many such people serving these stations and they have a public service philosophy. They are not motivated by commercial considerations, and they would feel that the whole local broadcasting experiment would be ruined, in its public service context, if a commercial base was established. Certainly if local authorities have a vested interest in the commercial considerations motivating the programme companies, because they would get an income from it, they would not be able to operate the type of public service broadcasting entailed in the type of experiment being conducted in quite the same frame of mind.
The passing of the Bill would preempt the evaluation of the radio experiments that we are hoping to conduct in July. The Bill is also open to grave objections of principle, first, because it involves, for the first time, the devolution of the broadcasting authority. The 576 Bill would enable a public authority to set up a radio service in the metropolis and empower the Greater London Council to appoint members of the authority—it is true after consultation with the Postmaster-General—but the actual authority for appointment would be with the G.L.C.
This raises a completely new constitutional concept in broadcasting. The House would want to consider long and carefully before it went down this road of establishing devoluted broadcasting authorities. It involves a fundamental departure from the constitutional basis on which have depended the broadcasting policies pursued in the past, by Governments of whatever persuasion. The rather lukewarm support given to the Bill by the hon. Member for Crosby shows that the Conservative Party has turned its back on something which it always accepted as a fundamental principle, namely, national broadcasting authorities to protect the national asset of broadcasting frequencies, and to ensure national standards which are, as has been acknowledged, second to none in the world.
§ Mr. Graham Page
I want to assure the right hon. Gentleman that while I may have sounded very moderate in what I have said, I am not lukewarm in any way. I am very warm in my praise for the Bill. I do not think that he could have heard what I said about the centrally controlled authority. I said that I hoped the Bill would be amended to the extent that the authority would be appointed centrally, and not by the local authority.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I said that the hon. Gentleman was lukewarm because he has not made clear how this venture, which he intimated would be an experiment, although it is not in the Bill as such, would line up with the observations made by the hon. Member for Howden (Mr. Bryan) about 100 broadcasting stations linked with the I.T.A. There is a good deal of confusion on the other side of the House. If the hon. Member is now indicating that he supports the Bill wholeheartedly, I do not believe that he is entitled to do so, because there has been inadequate consideration on that side of the House about its implications. There are important considerations here, to do with 577 the constitutional nature of the proposal. The G.L.C. would have power to establish the broadcasting authority and appoint and dismiss its members. Hitherto, this power has been reserved for the central Administration.
Second, the authority would be answerable to the G.L.C., and hitherto all broadcasting authorities have been answerable to Parliament, to whom their annual reports are presented by the Postmaster-General. Third, the surpluses earned by the authority would be applied as the G.L.C. directed, whereas surpluses enjoyed by the I.T.A. are applied as directed by the Ministers concerned. This new concept, although it may appear to have some attractions, has very serious dangers, and it would be most unwise to accept this breach in our existing constitutional practice in such a piecemeal fashion, as the Bill suggests.
The Bill is open to another grave objection on principle. It opens the door for a large-scale development of commercial sound broadcasting, which hitherto this country, apart from the Isle of Man, has turned its back on. This could have effects on the standards of sound broadcasting, and I am very doubtful whether the minority interests which the hon. Member for Croydon, North-East (Mr. Weatherill) defended would be protected if the primary motivation of the broadcasting companies that would be established as a result of the Bill is to maximise the audience so as to maximise the advertising income.
One of the wonderful results so far established by the eight-station experiment we have discussed is that the stations have been able to break out into experiment in a great variety of ways without having to worry about maximising the audience, as was the case with the pirate radio stations.
Several of my hon. Friends, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck) referred to the effect on local newspapers, some of which are in a highly marginal condition. There is no doubt that if we had local radio advertising on a wide scale many such newspapers would collapse. Although we are interested to hear the observations of the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West, who spoke from personal experience in this connection, I would refer the House to the Report of 578 the Royal Commission on the Press, published in September, 1962. In paragraph 269 the Commission reported that in its opinionIf local sound radio financed from advertising revenue were to be introduced … the provincial newspapers would probably be seriously injured. The bulk of broadcast advertising is at present national advertising, and the provincial newspaper, particularly the evening and the weekly, is fairly secure in its hold on local advertising. An outlet for local advertising on the air would alter this position.The House must weigh up that advice very seriously before allowing local radio advertising to be conducted on the lines suggested in the Bill.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
Can the right hon. Gentleman say why what he has quoted from the Royal Commission's Report is entirely the opposite of the experience of other countries, such as Australia, the United States and Canada? Local papers there do not suffer as a result of the existence of local radio.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I am not so certain that that is the case, but it is the general view in the newspaper world, almost without exception, that if local radio advertising were allowed newspaper finances would be severely affected. I have received deputations on the subject from many representatives of the Press, and I believe that they know what they are talking about.
There has been a reference to the question of wavelengths. I do not want to take up much time on this, but to put the position in perspective I would like to say something about it. First, the deployment and use of frequencies must be fitted into a long-term and comprehensive strategy. There can be no conceivable doubt for those who choose to listen after sunset that the medium wavelength is congested to a point that interference is spoiling the sound services in many parts of the country.
It is not good enough to refer to the medium wave as being available for local broadcasting during the daytime, because in mid-winter sunset arrives at about 3.30 p.m. The right strategy is to make increasing use of v.h.f. Most countries are moving in this direction. I believe that in Spain there has been a clear directive to this effect.
Hon. Members may recall that as long ago as the early 1950s the move to v.h.f. 579 was started. It was right then and I believe that it is right now. If we could have a general service on medium wave for local radio, it would, of course, command higher audiences at the outset, but as local radio becomes more established on v.h.f. I believe that people will be able, and will want, to acquire more v.h.f. sets, which are not all that expensive. I do not accept that they are out of bounds from the expense point of view. I believe that the quality of reception would also be improved, not only for the local radio, but for all the other broadcasting stations.
It is of significance that in the towns where the local radio experiment is being conducted, sales of v.h.f. radio sets have increased appreciably. In those towns, from the figures I have so far seen, a very high proportion of the population can receive these programmes.
I believe that the Bill is an ill-conceived proposal. If we were to accept it tonight, it would pre-empt the evaluation that we must conduct of the local radio experiment in July. It is open to fundamental objections on principle. For these reasons, I advise the House to oppose the Bill.
§ 9.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Rossi (Hornsey)
The debate has been marked by a number of interesting and informed speeches from both sides of the House and hon. Members will, no doubt, forgive me if in the time that is left to me I do not take up all the points which have been mentioned. I will, however, try to deal with the main lines of attack against the Bill, but before doing so I would like to refer briefly to the plea made by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Mr. Weatherill), who asked for consideration to be given to minority religious opinion.
In Clause 11 of the Bill there is provision for the establishment of a committee of representatives of the main streams of religious thought in the United Kingdom. That committee is to advise the authority on religious matters. I say only "advise". It will be for the authority itself to decide what weight to give to the advice which it receives. I feel sure that when the authority sees the light of day, as I have no doubt it will one of these days, despite the depressing remarks of the Postmaster-General, the remarks 580 of my hon. Friend will be taken into account.
The main line of attack which has been made against the Bill is on the quality of the programmes that would be likely to result from commercialism. That attack was led by the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck), supported by the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy), but their prejudice has so blinded them that they were not able to read the print in the Bill. If they had done so, they would have realised that they were talking a great deal of nonsense.
Clause 3 says that the authority has a duty to providea public service for disseminating information, education and entertainment.Moreover, it has a duty to provide programmes of a high quality, and that is further defined, because Clause 5 says that there must be nothing in the programmeswhich offends against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime or to lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feeling.That is a statutory duty in relation to the quality of the broadcasts, and if the authority does not comply with those requirements there will be a breach of statutory duty, with all the legal consequences which flow from that.
In addition, there must be sufficint time fornews and news features, particularly on matters of local interest",and, to answer another point made from the benches opposite, there must be due impartiality in relation to matters of political or industrial controversy.
§ Mr. Molloy
The hon. Gentleman referred to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck) and myself. What is his reply to the fact that the opinions we expressed were supported by British Industry Week, a magazine produced by the Confederation of British Industry?
§ Mr. Rossi
There are many interests involved all arguing one way or the other. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will allow me to continue, because I have very little time in which to answer all the points which have been raised.
I am suggesting that there are sufficient safeguards in the Bill to ensure 581 a high standard of broadcasting, and that there is no need for the fear which has been expressed that because the financing is to be by commercial interests, rather than out of public funds, there will necessarily be a deterioration in standards. The protection is provided by the Statute itself.
One of the significant things which flowed from the remarks of hon. Gentlemen opposite was that whilst they were against commercial radio, they were nevertheless virtually unanimous in favour of local radio. Attention was drawn in particular to the valuable experiment being conducted by the B.B.C. But what has not been drawn to the attention of the House is the fact that seven out of the eight local authorities concerned in that experiment said on 26th March, 1969, that if the B.B.C. were to continue to operate local radio stations after the end of the experiment financing must be varied so that the burden carried by the local authorities is very materially reduced.
§ Mr. Rossi
I cannot give way. I do not have much time left.
The prospect is that local radio must be financed either out of rates or by increased licence fees. Either of those means of raising funds would be unwelcome to the general public, and the danger of providing funds out of rates is that this method gives rise to a degree of political control which would not otherwise exist. This must be borne in mind if the ratepayer is to be responsible for the local radio station.
It is to meet those dangers that the G.L.C. has proposed the structure of an independent authority not requiring support from public funds. The authority appointed by the G.L.C. would be analogous to the I.T.A., with the G.L.C. taking the place of the Postmaster-General. We have heard from the right hon. Gentleman that he is not very keen on having his functions taken away from him and decentralised, but we must also consider this matter against the concept of the decentralisation of government generally. This is an important constitional issue, but modern thinking is towards regional government, and in the G.L.C. we have already set up a regional government with its powers expanded. 582 This type of activity could well be handled by regional government.
I am not suggesting that necessarily every local authority in the country would have the ability or even the desire to run a local radio station, but if, following the report on local government reorganisation, which we are awaiting, there is to be set up a number of regional governments of considerable size throughout the country, it may well be considered that this would be an appropriate function for them to perform. There would be no harm at all in starting with the G.L.C. to experiment in that field, so that when the other regional governments were set up they would see whether the experiment had been successful.
The Bill provides that part of the advertising revenue will go directly to the G.L.C. It is the intention of the G.L.C. to use that advertising revenue for the promotion of the arts, of music, of opera and of ballet, and to give encouragement to London talent, to give an outlet to struggling artists. Money would be provided from this source to help them with their work, and the local radio station would offer a medium through which their work would be heard. Educationally and in the arts that could be extremely valuable to the culture of the nation.
A number of hon. Members attacked the Bill on the subject of advertising, but almost all their remarks were based on the Pilkington Report of 1962, since when there has been the experience of commercial television. Great fears were expressed at the outset about the effect of commercial television advertising on local and national newspapers, but those fears have proved to be unfounded. The hon. Member for Harrow, East spoke of the danger of the switching of advertisement expenditure from local newspapers to radio, but I do not think that that would happen. It is more likely that greater sums of money would be spent on advertising, because there is nothing like advertising to encourage advertising.
My hon. Friend the Member for Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight) made the point that the type of advertising on radio is different from that in the newspapers. Weekly local newspapers, in particular, require leisurely reading. This is complementary rather than in competition 583 with the quick news flash which one would have on the radio, and the advertising would be complementary, too. It has also been pointed out that the type of audience sought for radio advertising would be different from that sought in respect of newspaper advertising.
It is possible that at the very beginning, in the experimental stages, there would be a drop in local newspaper advertising, but as my hon. Friends the Members for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Silvester), Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) and Southgate (Mr. Berry), all hon. Members with considerable personal experience in these matters, indicated, the experience of the national newspapers is that in the long run there would be no appreciably detrimental effect to local newspapers from sound radio, and, in fact, they could well benefit.
Another comment is about the quality of advertising and comparisons with America. I would refer those who make this criticism to the Bill. If they had taken the trouble to read it they would have seen that these objections, too, are unfounded. Clause 10 provides for a code of advertising. If hon. Gentlemen know anything about the code which affects I.T.A., they will know what a valuable protection it is in that sphere, and there is no reason why it should not operate in the same way here. Clause 11 provides for a committee to advise on advertising, with consumer representation, to deal with misleading advertisements. There is also to be a medical advisory panel to deal with questions of medical advertisements. Schedule 2 provides distinctly that advertisements must not be excessively noisy or strident and must be confined to the beginning and end of the programmes or to natural breaks.
If hon. Members had taken the trouble—[Interruption.]—to inform themselves of what is in the Bill, we should have been spared many of the speeches—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. It is difficult for an hon. Member to speak against a background of conversation.
§ Mr. Rossi
A number of hon. Gentlemen, and the Postmaster-General, referred to wavelengths. The right hon. 584 Gentleman repeated paragraph 32 of his White Paper and spoke of allotted wavelengths. Article 8 of the Convention on European broadcasting, the Copenhagen Plan, makes it possible to make applications for additional wavelengths. Under the Convention 288 stations were allotted, but there are now 877, all legally registered with the International Communications Union by virtue of Article 8. This can all be done by low-powered stations, where power is limited to achieve the desired coverage, and highly sophisticated aerials.
These are not insurmountable technical problems; a feasibility study has shown that it is possible to have local stations of low power covering the Greater London area, which would comply with the Copenhagen Plan, if the right hon. Gentleman invoked Article 8 and obtained permission—as he did for Cyprus, which is operated on the same wavelength as Radio Luxembourg, from a one-kilowatt station. These things can be done.
I therefore urge the House to give London what London wants. The Greater London Council sees no reason why the B.B.C. should have a monopoly in local broadcasting. The Council intends that there should be a minimum of two independent stations, each offering a service throughout Greater London. With two or more stations, each would develop its own character, and will try to serve all Londoners in a way that a monopoly station cannot. It would try to reflect the life of London, and Londoners would have great variety, opportunities for experiment and free choice across the range of stations. The programmes would be of local origin and interest and would not draw, as do the B.B.C. experimental stations for much of their time, on national programmes. I urge the House to accept the Bill.
§ 9.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Ogden (Liverpool, West Derby)
Of the last four speakers, three have been from the Conservative benches. I make no criticism of that or of the Chair, but they cannot then complain if someone from this side tries to take part in the debate at this late stage.
First, as the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) was speaking—
§ The Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Sydney Irving)
rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put:—
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 111, Noes 109.587
|Division No. 198.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Astor, John||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Pounder, Rafton|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pym, Francis|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Hawkins, Paul||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Hiley, Joseph||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Holland, Philip||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Hornby, Richard||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Braine, Bernard||Hunt, John||Royle, Anthony|
|Brewis, John||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Iremonger, T. L.||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Sharples, Richard|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & whitby)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Jopling, Michael||Silvester, Frederick|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Kershaw, Anthony||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Kimball, Marcus||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Kirk, Peter||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Clark, Henry||Kitson, Timothy||Speed, Keith|
|Clegg, Walter||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Stainton, Keith|
|Crouch, David||MacArthur, Ian||Stodart, Anthony|
|Currie, G. B. H.||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Maude, Angus||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Dempsey, James||Mawby, Ray||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Eadie, Alex||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'le-upon-Tyne, N.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Emery, Peter||Monro, Hector||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Errington, Sir Eric||More, Jasper||Wiggin, A. W.|
|Eyre, Reginald||Murton, Oscar||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Foster, Sir John||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Calbraith, Hn. T. G.||Neave, Airey||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Goodhart, Philip||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Wright, Esmond|
|Goodhew, Victor||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Gower, Raymond||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Grant, Anthony||Page, Graham (Crosby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Percival, Ian||Mr. Brian Batsford and|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Mr. John Page.|
|Archer, Peter||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Luard Evan|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Forrester, John||Lubbock, Eric|
|Barnett, Joel||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Beaney, Alan||Galpern, Sir Myer||McCann, James|
|Bishop, E. S.||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Gregory, Arnold||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Booth, Albert||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Manuel, Archie|
|Boston, Terence||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mapp, Charles|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Buchan, Norman||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Molloy, William|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Coe, Denis||Hamling, William||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Coleman, Donald||Hannan, William||Neal, Harold|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hazell, Bert||Newens Stan|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Heffer, Eric S.||Ogden, Eric|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||O'Malley, Brian|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Hooley, Frank||Oswald, Thomas|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Horner, John||Paget, R. T.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Dewar, Donald||Hoy, James||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Doig, Peter||Huckfield, Leslie||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Hunter, Adam||Probert, Arthur|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Richard, Ivor|
|Ellis, John||Judd, Frank||Rose Paul|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Lawson, George||Sheldon, Robert|
|Fernyhough, E.||Leadbitter, Ted||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Finch, Harold||Lestor, Miss Joan||Silverman, Julius|
|Small, William||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Watkins, David (Consett)||Woof, Robert|
|Steels, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Tinn, James||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Urwin, T. W.||Winstanley, Dr. M. p.||Mr. Roy Roebuck and|
|Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Mr. Joseph Ashton.|
§ Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—588
§ The House divided: Ayes 108, Noes 134.589
|Division No. 199.]||AYES||[10.9 p.m.|
|Astor, John||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Hawkins, Paul||Pym, Francis|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Hiley, Joseph||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Holland, Philip||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hornby, Richard||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hunt, John||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Royle, Anthony|
|Braine, Bernard||Iremonger, T. L.||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Brewis, John||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Sharples, Richard|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Jopling, Michael||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Kershaw, Anthony||Silvester, Frederick|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Kimball, Marcus||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Kirk, Peter||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Kitson, Timothy||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Speed, Keith|
|Clark, Henry||MacArthur, Ian||Stainton, Keith|
|Clegg, Walter||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Stodart, Anthony|
|Crouch, David||Maude, Angus||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Mawby, Ray||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'le-upon-Tyne, N.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Emery, Peter||Monro, Hector||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Errington, Sir Eric||More, Jasper||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Eyre, Reginald||Murton, Oscar||Wiggin, A. W.|
|Foster, Sir John||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Neave, Airey||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Goodhart, Philip||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Wright, Esmond|
|Goodhew, Victor||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Gower, Raymond||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Percival, Ian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Mr. Brian Batsford and|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Pounder, Rafton||Mr. John Page.|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.|
|Archer, Peter||Eadie, Alex||Hooley, Frank|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Horner, John|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Ellis, John||Hoy, James|
|Barnett, Joel||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Huckfield, Leslie|
|Bishop, E. S.||Fernyhough, E.||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Booth, Albert||Finch, Harold||Hunter, Adam|
|Boston, Terence||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Boyden, James||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Forrester, John||Judd, Frank|
|Buchan, Norman||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lawson, George|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Coe, Denis||Gregory, Arnold||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Coleman, Donald||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshir, W.)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Luard, Evan|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Lubbock, Eric|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||McBride, Neil|
|Delargy, Hugh||Hamling, William||McCann, John|
|Dempsey, James||Hannan, William||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Dewar, Donald||Harper, Joseph||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)|
|Doig, Peter||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Dunn, James A.||Hazell, Bert||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Heffer, Eric S.||Manuel, Archie|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mapp, Charles|
|Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Pentland, Norman||Tinn, James|
|Mendelson, John||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Millan, Bruce||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Miller, Dr. M. S.||Probert, Arthur||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Molloy, William||Richard, Ivor||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Whitlock, William|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Rose, Paul||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Neal, Harold||Sheldon, Robert||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Newens, Stan||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Ogden, Eric||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Woof, Robert|
|O'Malley, Brian||Silverman, Julius|
|Oswald, Thomas||Slater, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Paget, R. T.||Small, William||Mr. Roy Roebuck and|
|Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Mr. Joseph Ashton.|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|