HC Deb 27 July 1988 vol 138 cc306-7W
17. Sir Russell Johnston

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with BBC Scotland and the independent television companies on the role of television in the field of Gaelic language learning; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

My right hon. and learned Friend meets representatives of the broadcasting authorities from time to time to discuss Scottish broadcasting matters in general, including Gaelic television broadcasting. The most recent occasion was in January this year, when he met the senior management of Scottish Television and the topics covered included Gaelic television. We have consistently encouraged the broadcasting authorities to provide a reasonable range of Gaelic programmes.

24. Mrs. Ray Michie

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his policy on the level of Gaelic programming, including educational programming, on television in Scotland.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

My right hon. and learned Friend has encouraged the BBC and the IBA to provide a reasonable level of television broadcasting in the Gaelic language and we will continue to do so. The content of Gaelic programmes is, however, a matter for the broadcasting authorities in discussion with those representing the Gaelic community. We understand that Grampian Television is preparing a series of programmes for standard grade Gaelic courses which are to be introduced in the next session.

26. Mr. Macdonald

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy towards the encouragement of Gaelic language programming on television.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

As indicated in my reply to the hon. Gentleman on 10 May, at column94, we appreciate the contribution which television can make to encouraging the preservation of the Gaelic language. Our support for a reasonable level of Gaelic programmes has been made known to the television companies and we have encouraged the organisations representing the Gaelic community to discuss their needs with the broadcasters. The amount of programming time devoted to such programmes is, however, for the companies to decide, taking account of demand and available resources.