HC Deb 07 June 1972 vol 838 cc438-9
19. Mr. Hooson

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications how many householders in Wales who are licensed for television reception are known to receive only one television channel through the medium of the British Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Television Authority relay stations.

Sir J. Eden

The BBC and the ITA tell me that approximately 36,000 households or 4 per cent. of the population of Wales can receive one television channel only.

Mr. Hooson

Is the Minister aware that the reception of this one channel is often of very poor quality, that the area concerned covers a good deal of the hinterland of Wales and that a great deal of it is a Welsh-speaking area? The lack of choice between Welsh language and English language programmes and the poor reception are matters of great concern to those in Wales and are matters of increasing protest. What does the Minister intend to do about this?

Sir J. Eden

With regard to the figures, I refer the hon. and learned Gentleman to the answer given by my predecessor on 8th March. On the second part of the supplementary question, I look forward to debating this whole subject in the Welsh Grand Committee shortly, I believe next week.

Mr. Wiggin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of my constituents who have recently purchased 625-line sets are able to receive only Welsh transmissions in the Welsh language? Will he investigate the position that what almost amounts to a fraud is being perpetrated on my constituents?

Sir J. Eden

I am aware of certain local difficulties in my hon. Friend's constituency.

Mr. Gregor Mackenzie

Is not there something very odd about the pressure that the right hon. Gentleman is now under for a fourth television channel when in some parts of the country we cannot even view one channel properly on our television sets? Will he ask his engineers, who I know are looking at this problem at present, to examine whether they can take something from the proposals for a fourth channel and put it towards those who can receive nothing?

Sir J. Eden

I do not think this has anything to do with a fourth channel. It has to do with the particular topographical features of some parts of the British Isles which make it both extremely difficult and expensive to bring good quality television pictures to some isolated communities in those parts.