HC Deb 16 June 1977 vol 933 c549
20. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received from the BBC concerning the level of the licence fee.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

There have been discussions with the BBC about its finances generally.

Mr. Whitehead

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is an open secret that the BBC will soon have to ask for a massive 50 per cent. or more increase in licence fees, although one understands that for tactical reasons this will be delayed? Does he further agree that the BBC should be properly and adequately financed whatever increase is necessary, but that the corollary will be that not all the services now maintained can be financed for ever in this way?

Mr. Rees

Certainly the longer-term financing of the BBC is a matter of discussion arising out of Annan. As for the current situation, I take account of my hon. Friend's remark about an open secret and simply say that we should wait and see.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that if there is any increase in licence fees it will impose a great hardship on many elderly people and on others who are dis-advantaged? Will he bear that factor in mind when an increase is being considered?

Mr. Rees

I shall certainly take that matter into account.

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