HC Deb 30 June 1971 vol 820 cc372-3
9. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications when he will announce plans for legislation to implement the Government's proposals for commercial broadcasting.

Mr. Chataway

Not before the next Session of Parliament.

Mr. Whitehead

While I welcome the fact that we are to be spared commercial radio for a little longer, is the Minister aware that each delay brings us nearer to 1976, when the whole structure of broadcasting in this country will have to be reviewed, as will the Copenhagen Agreement? Will he say now that in view of the delays it would be better to have an inquiry into the whole future structure and ownership patterns of broadcasting rather than bringing in piecemeal legislation in just one area?

Mr. Chataway

There has been no further delay. I have noticed that on the Opposition benches there is an inclination to put off until after 1976 every broadcasting question, including solving the severe financial difficulties of both broadcasting organisations. But that is a propensity for procrastination which is not shared on this side of the House.

Mr. Richard

In the recent debate on broadcasting, the Minister said that he was anxious to hear views on the future structure of commercial broadcasting. We hear disturbing rumours about the sort of Bill he may be thinking of introducing. Hon. Members on this side, and, I suspect, many Conservative hon. Members, too, will take it very unkindly if all that happens is that a very short enabling Bill is introduced, without giving the House the opportunity to discuss a great number of details, such as how much advertising there should be per hour, what sort of advertising, and the method of enforcing balanced programmes.

Mr. Chataway

I am sure that there will be ample opportunity to discuss all those matters.

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