§ Mr. John Hunt
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the response of the Government and the Independent Broadcasting Authority to the tenth report from the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries, 1977–78 Session.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
The response of the Government and the Independent Broadcasting Authority to the Select Committee's report is being published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office.
The Committee recommended amongst other things that the Government should be empowered to extend the life of the IBA for a period of 15 years and that the prescriptive right for newspapers to take shares in the equity of ILR companies should be abolished. The Government propose to take the necessary powers in the forthcoming Broadcasting Bill. The Select Committee's recommendation that the IBA should be allowed to proceed with its plans for the expansion of independent local radio has already been implemented.
The Government recognise the importance of close co-operation between those Departments which have responsibility for all the various aspects of telecommunications policy, including broadcasting, but consider that the degree of co-operation achieved under existing arrangements is satisfactory and that there is no present need for bringing these functions together within a single Department.