HC Deb 19 March 1998 vol 308 cc667-8W
Mr. Wyatt

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received from(a) the public and (b) commercial broadcasters about the scale and cost of the BBC's promotion of (i) BBC channel services and its corporate image and (ii) the licence fee; and if he will make a statement. [34113]

Mr. Fisher

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received representations from three members of the public and from the Commercial Radio Companies Association about the BBC's promotion of its public service programmes. He has received a number of representations from members of the public about the BBC's promotion of the licence fee, but our records do not provide an exact figure. No representations on this subject have been received from commercial broadcasters.

The Government believe that the BBC should be allowed restricted use of free airtime to promote the licence fee and its public service programmes, provided such promotion meets the requirements of fair competition. The use of such airtime informs licence fee payers of the range and type of public services available, assisting them to get full value from the licence fee. not realistic to put a hypothetical income stream on individual investments on the premise that they might have performed differently or different investments might have been preferred.