HC Deb 26 November 1973 vol 865 cc16-7
21. Mr. Leadbitter

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications what consideration has now been given to removing the present television licensing system and introducing a new method of financing television.

Sir J. Eden

All studies so far have concluded that the present method of financing the BBC's domestic radio and television services should be retained. There seems to be no need to change the method of financing the IBA.

Mr. Leadbitter

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman recognises the need to find a way of changing the financing arrangements and that at present the standard licensing fee represents a disproportionate burden on different income groups, with the result that the most hard-pressed are pensioners. We also have a great army of detector vans looking for licence dodgers. Does not this system seem crazy when we have available a progressive taxation system which could help to even out the burden of meeting licensing costs and would be a fairer way of providing a proper, stable financial basis for BBC television and radio services?

Sir J. Eden

There are a number of different ways in which television could be financed. All I can say is that all the objective studies which have been made so far have reached the conclusion that it is right to continue the present system.