§ 3. Mr. Golding
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many experiments in local television he expects to be in existence on 31st December 1975 and whether he will make a statement.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Alexander W. Lyon)
The experiments at Bristol and Wellingborough have now closed down, but those at Greenwich, Sheffield and Swindon are still in operation. We hope they will continue, although that is a matter for the commercial judgment of their operators.
§ Mr. Golding
Is my hon. Friend aware that by allowing advertising on these stations the Government made it easier for them to continue under private control, and that it would be preferable for cable community television to be developed under public ownership and control?
§ Mr. Lyon
I recognise that it would be possible to allow these to continue under public control in the circumstances indicated by my hon. Friend, but we were pressed by the Annan Committee to consider allowing them to advertise as a means of allowing them to continue until the Annan Committee could consider their long-term future. We thought it right to respond to that request.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Is my hon. Friend aware that the decision of Rediffusion to close down the Bristol experiment, Rediffusion being the most well-financed of all the organisations which have been involved in this experiment, is very deplorable and that the decision of my right hon. Friend to allow a variation in the terms of the experiment was probably the right one if we were to get all the necessary data by 1977?