§ Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will give details of the capital programme authorised for the external services of the BBC.
§ Mr. Luce
In a written reply on 25 June to my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Dorrell), the Minister of State my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) explained how the Government would be prepared to make a substantial increase in the present public expenditure provision for the external services on the assumption that the cost of that increase is met in part by certain savings in current operations by the BBC. The capital programme that has been drawn up on this assumption contains the main elements set out in the following list. Work has already begun on the first four projects and the last two.
Optimum date for completion Approximate total costs in £million in 1981 Survey Prices Completion of one 500 kilowatt MF (medium wave) transmitter at Orfordness 1982 Completion of four 250 kilowatt HF (short wave) transmitters at (first two) 1982 Cyprus (second two) 1983 Equipment of overseas relay stations with satellite feeds 1985 Replacement for
Skelton 'B' transmitter station—eight 500 kilowatt HF (short wave) transmitters
Optimum date for completion Approximate total costs in £million in 1981 Survey Prices Expansion of another United Kingdom station—six 250 kilowatt HF transmitters 1987 New relay station to
cover East Africa
1988 New relay station to cover Far East 1988 Total for new transmitter facilities *53.3 Modernisation of Bush House 1990 17.5 Minor and General works, plant replacement etc. For the decade 31.6 Grand Total 102.4 *Detailed costs of individual transmitter projects may be subject to adjustment within this total.
§ Mr. David Young
asked the Lord Privy Seal what information he has as to the operation by other countries of broadcasting services of news and current affairs similar to the external services of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
§ Mr. Luce
About 50 countries broadcast internationally. Details of the proportion of their programmes devoted to news and current affairs are not available. The total hours and numbers of languages broadcast by the six largest international broadcasters and by six other major countries—with comparisons with 1975—are as follows:
Hours per week Languages 1975 1980 Change 1980 Six Largest Broadcasters USSR 2,001 2,094 +93 82 United States of America 2,029 1,901 -128 47 China 1,423 1,350 -73 45 Federal Republic of Germany 767 804 +37 39 United Kingdom 719 719 — 39 North Korea 455 597 +142 8 Other Major International Broadcasters Australia 379 333 -46 9 Netherlands 400 289 -111 8 Japan 259 259 — 21 Italy 170 169 -1 29 Canada 159 134 -25 11 France 108 125 +17 6