HC Deb 07 June 1972 vol 838 cc437-8
15. Mr. Idris Owen

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he is now able to make a statement on the result of the 1971–72 television licence anti-evasion campaign.

Sir J. Eden

During the campaign some 350,000 licences were taken out which produced an estimated maximum additional annual revenue of £2½ million.

Mr. Owen

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. I find the improvement encouraging. Should my right hon. Friend be continually successful with his anti-evasion campaign, will he use the additional revenue raised to reduce the rate of licence fee for old-age pensioners? Is he aware that many old-age pensioners in the twilight of their lives find television about the only source of enjoyment and communication with the outside world which is available to them?

Sir J. Eden

The last part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is another matter. With regard to the success of the campaign, I agree with my hon. Friend that it has been very successful. About 300,000 to 400,000 licence evaders appear to have been brought within the net. I am sure it is right to maintain pressure in this quarter in some form.

Mr. Kilfedder

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his immediate predecessor admitted that the television detector vans did not enter the Republican areas of Belfast and Londonderry? Is my right hon. Friend now changing that situation as, according to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, there is no longer a no-go area in Belfast? Will he say whether the detector vans will enter or have entered the Republican areas of Belfast?

Sir J. Eden

The particular point that my hon. Friend has raised should more properly be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.