HC Deb 09 December 1953 vol 521 cc244-5W
112. Mr. Ian Harvey

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the estimated cost of the British Broadcasting Corporation's television service, including development financed from revenue, during the year ending April, 1954; and what net revenue the British Broadcasting Corporation received from that part of the licence fee revenue allocated to television.

117. Mr. Hirst

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what the exact licence for television only would have been in 1952 to cover the total expenditure on television services by the British Broadcasting Corporation; and what the fee would have been in 1953 to cover the estimated expenditure on such services.

Mr. Gammans

It is not the practice to give forcasts of B.B.C. expenditure, but the Corporation's published accounts for 1952–53 show that the cost of the television service during that year was £4,334,474, of which £933,432 was for capital additions and £3,401,042 for revenue expenditure. The total television income calculated on the assumption that the £2 broadcast receiving licence fee, which is a combined fee for sound and television, is divided equally between these two services, amounted to £1,679,845; of this, £1,679,007 represents 85 per cent. of half the net revenue from £2 broadcast receiving licences and £838 comes from receipts from the sale of assets taken out of service. The balance of expenditure, namely, £2,654,629, was financed from reserves and other income.

The income of £1,679,007 from television licences represents 15s. 9d. per licence; the Corporation would have needed £2 0s. 8d. per licence to cover its total television expenditure. To give the Corporation this sum per licence would have meant raising the £2 broadcast receiving licence fee to roughly £3 10s.

114 Mr. G. Longden

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will insist on an inquiry by an independent body to see what economies can be made within the British Broadcasting Corporation before he considers their request for an increase in the licence fee to be charged to the public.

Mr. Gammans

The B.B.C.'s capital investment is subject to the normal machinery of Government control, but in the matter of programmes and of day-to-day expenditure, successive Governments have allowed the Corporation full autonomy subject to periodical investigations by outside committees. The most recent of these, the Beveridge Committee, which exhaustively examined all aspects of the B.B.C.'s working, gave high praise to the way in which the Corporation keeps a "grip on income and expenditure."