Broadcasting Fees (Members of Armed Forces)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information – in the House of Commons on 10th November 1942.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Minister of Information whether he will put the fees paid to members of His Majesty's Forces for broadcasting on the same basis as the fees paid to civilians for broadcasting; and whether he will immediately end the present system of deducting half the fees paid to members of His Majesty's Forces which are remitted to the Treasury?

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

No distinction is made between members of His Majesty's Forces and civilians in Government employment. The position is that, if a servant of the Crown gives a broadcast not as part of his official duty but on a subject in which he is expert in his official as well as in his private capacity, half the fee is paid to him and half to his Department. The same rule applies if he is enabled to give his broadcast by reason of experience acquired in the course of his duties.

Mr. De la Bère:

In view of all that we owe to the men of the Forces, does it not seem undesirable and unfortunate that there should be this necessity for them to return half the fee? Are they not entitled to receive the full fee in view of the services they are giving to the nation? Will my hon. Friend endeavour to get this matter adjusted?

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

My hon. Friend will see that the position as set forth in the answer is equitable from the point of view both of the public purse and of the public service involved.

Mr. De la Bère:

I do not think they are treated properly.

Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Devizes

In addition to this deduction by the Treasury is there also Income Tax, or is the deduction in lieu of Income Tax?

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

I cannot answer that point without notice.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

Apart from that, is it not rather hard on a young flying officer who comes up to town to give a broadcast of his experiences that he should have half the money taken away because they are experiences about which he has information by virtue of his public service? Is it not rather hard that the opportimity for a certain amount of jollification should be denied to him?

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

I agree that the case which my right hon. and gallant Friend has mentioned is a hard one, but I think he will agree that it is difficult for the Treasury to make exceptions to a general rule of this kind.

Mr. Astor:

Do professors who broadcast have to return half the fee to their universities?

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

No, Sir, because they have not acquired their knowledge in the service of the Government.

Mr. De la Bère:

Why not change the rules?