HL Deb 02 August 1961 vol 234 cc108-9

2.41 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government if they will call the attention of the Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting to the fact that there are in the United Kingdom 100,000 blind persons, and a larger number of persons who do not see very well, for whom television is inappropriate, and that it is desirable, when considering the balance between aural and visual broadcasts, to ensure that all aspects of entertainment and national affairs, including "sound pictures", shall continue to be available.]


My Lords, I take it that anyone would recognise the importance of the view expressed by my noble friend. I am equally sure that the Pilkington Committee will already have it in mind, and will give every consideration to its expression in your Lordships' House to-day. I do not think it is appropriate for Her Majesty's Government to prompt the Committee on such matters. I would suggest to the noble Lord that, as the Committee have generally invited views on broadcasting, he might like to consider putting his comments directly to the Committee.


My Lords, in view of the temptation to spend money, skill and time on television, to the exclusion of sound, is it not just that this House and Ministers should take a view about the requirements of those old and blind people, and others who cherish the sound programmes? And, so far as blind people are concerned, is my noble friend aware that to them the radio is their newspaper, their magazine, their theatre, their film and their friend? Will not the Government, in addition to my representations, lend their view, and that of this House?


My Lords, arising out of that question, may I ask the noble Lord whether it is not a fact that the Pilkington Committee are an advisory committee, and that responsibility rests on Her Majesty's Government? Therefore, could the Minister undertake that the needs of these blind people for sound radio will be borne in mind by Her Majesty's Government?


Yes, my Lords. I think both supplementary questions were answered in my original reply. In reply to the question of the noble Lord opposite, I think it is for the Government to take matters of this kind into account when considering the Report, once presented. Both noble Lords can rest assured that the point they make will be borne in mind.