HC Deb 26 November 1973 vol 865 cc18-9
40. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Minister for the Civil Service on how many occasions the Central Office of Information or other Government Departments were provided with free advertising time on the BBC and IBA during the past 12 months to date.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

During the year ending 30th September, Independent Television stations gave 29,000 transmissions of short public service films which were of course, shown regionally. During the same period the BBC gave 508 transmissions on television, most of which were shown nationally, and 50 transmissions of public service announcements on BBC Radio 4.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Can my hon. Friend say why so many of the films, which are often on important subjects concerning safety and health, are shown at midnight or at some other useless hour when the size of the audience must be tiny? May I press him to ask the BBC and IBA to allow these valuable films to be shown at peak viewing hours?

Mr. Baker

I am grateful for what my hon. Friend has said. I agree that some of these films are extremely useful, dealing as they do with fires in the home, keeping medicines out of the reach of children, crime prevention and so on. In the case of the IBA about 20 per cent. are shown at peak times, but, of course, that is through the regional networks of the Independent Television system.