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I beg to move,
That the Licence and Agreement, dated 12th June, 1952, between Her Majesty's Postmaster-General and the British Broadcasting Corporation, a copy of which was laid before this House on 13th June, be approved.
As most hon. Members are aware, the reason why the Licence and Agreement are laid before the House for an affirmative Resolution is not because of the activities of the B.B.C. here at home, in particular, but because they also relate to overseas broadcasts, and also because the Licence and Agreement create a charge on public funds and extend over a period of years. It is for these reasons that the Licence falls within Standing Orders Nos. 87 and 88. I imagine that the House would not want me to read out those Standing Orders, but I am prepared to do so if necessary.
The Charter itself is given under the Royal prerogative and does not require the approval of the House. For that reason, it would not be proper for me to refer to the terms of the Charter. The Licence and Agreement do not differ fundamentally from the Licence under which the B.B.C. is now working, but there are one or two important changes, and it would be proper for me to spend most of my time speaking about them.
As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary told the House the week before last, the Licence will run for 10 years. This differs in point of time both from the recommendations of the Beveridge Committee and also from the proposals of the late Government. I think from the debate on the White Paper that this period of 10 years meets with general acceptance. This will be found in Clause 2.
In the existing Licence the Postmaster-General has an all-embracing power of direction over television; in the new Licence there is no such provision, which means that the Government formally extends to television the independence which the B.B.C. has traditionally enjoyed in programme matters. This means that the B.B.C. is in the same position so far as both television and sound broadcasting are concerned.
In Clause 3 the Postmaster-General has the power to require the B.B.C, after consultation, to establish very high frequency sound and television stations; that is, those working above 30 megacycles per second. This is a new provision for sound broadcasting, and it follows the Government's intention to seek advice from a committee on v.h.f. sound, as well as television, broadcasting. This committee is the advisory committee which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) mentioned in the debate on the White Paper. As I told him then, the only reason why the committee had not been called during the past year was that we felt that there was not much point in calling it until questions of principle and policy had been settled. But from now on it will be called and it will be responsible for advising not only on television but on very high frequency sound as well.
In Clause 11 there is a slight alteration regarding the employment of aliens. The Postmaster-General will continue to specify the general conditions under which aliens can be employed but, provided they are not subject to restriction as to the length of their stay in this country or the nature of the work that they can take up, the Corporation will have discretion from now on to employ them in established capacities.
Clause 14 relates to commercial broadcasting by the B.B.C. It forbids such broadcasts except with the permission of the Postmaster-General and is exactly like the Clause now in force. The Government have no intention, as stated in the White Paper, of departing from this policy and, what is more, they would be most unwilling to see any change in the future on the part of the B.B.C. itself.
Incidentally, it is this Clause which enables the B.B.C. to announce the names and descriptions of performers and also to acknowledge by whose permission they appear. For example, the point is often raised why at the end of a programme a statement is made that Mr. So-and-so is appearing at a certain West End theatre. It is this Clause which enables it to be done, and it is also this Clause which enables the B.B.C. to give the numbers and the makers of gramophone records which they broadcast.
Clause 15 (2) lays on the B.B.C. the obligation to broadcast an impartial account by professional reporters of the proceedings of both Houses of Parliament, and I am sure all hon. Members will agree when I say that here the B.B.C. has done a really first-class job of work, not only from the point of view of strict impartiality but also as a first-class piece of reporting. Many millions of people who have neither the time nor the inclination to read HANSARD, or perhaps even to read the daily newspapers, will testify that it is in this way that they have some idea of what is happening in the House. There is only one criticism that I have ever heard of "Today in Parliament," and that is that many people think it ought to be five minutes longer. In some legislatures the proceedings are broadcast direct, but that is something which has never appealed to us in this country and I do not imagine that it ever will.
In Clause 15 (3) there are one or two minor alterations. The first is that the power which the Government now have to require the B.B.C. to broadcast an announcement is now extended to cover television. We think that is reasonable —I think everybody does—in view of the importance and the popularity of television.
Another change compared with the present Licence is that a Government Department will no longer be able to require the B.B.C. to broadcast what is termed "other matter" except in an emergency. The B.B.C. will, of course, continue to be at liberty to say that either an announcement or "other matter" is being transmitted at the request of a Government Department.
There is also a new provision regarding the Government veto on B.B.C. transmissions, whether in television or sound. Under the present Licence the Government can forbid the B.B.C. to say that a veto has been imposed. Under the new Licence the B.B.C. will be at liberty to announce at its discretion whether or not a veto has been imposed. The Government take the view that the Governors are a responsible body and that this discretion can safely be left with them.
I had better say a word about Clause 15 (5), which deals with external broadcasts. These used to be called the Overseas Services but at the request of the B.B.C. they will now be known as the External Services. These are the services which are financed not out of the licence revenue but out of a grant-in-aid. The programmes themselves, like the Home Service programmes, are left to the B.B.C, but the scope, the languages and the extent of the broadcasts are decided by certain Government Departments whom the B.B.C. is required to consult and from whom the B.B.C. has to get information regarding Government policies, so that the programmes can be prepared in the national interest. The Departments which the B.B.C. has to consult are the Foreign Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Colonial Office. In theory, the B.B.C. is also required to consult the three Service Departments, but at present those Departments are not exercising their powers in this direction.
It is the same Clause which deals with the monitoring and transcription services, which are also financed through a grant-in-aid. The transcription services provide recordings of B.B.C. programmes in English and in other languages either specially prepared for sending abroad or else taken from the ordinary B.B.C. services. Last year several thousand discs and tape recordings were sent to broadcasting stations all over the world, and these form a very important part of the broadcast programmes of many overseas stations.
The monitoring service, as the name implies, is charged with the task of listening to foreign broadcasts from all over the world throughout the whole 24 hours, and the B.B.C. itself, as well as many Government Departments, derives most valuable information from it. These services have, of course, been going on for some time, but under this Clause the overseas Departments will have a more formal responsibility than has so far existed.
Clause 17 is the interesting Clause which deals with finance for the Home services. To begin with, the Post Office gets a sum equivalent to 7½ per cent. of the gross revenue received from the licences in order to pay for the services which the Post Office itself provides. Those services are the cost of licensing, the cost of investigating interference affecting broadcast reception, and also the cost of dealing with licence evasion. The Post Office percentage has varied over the years. Before the war it was even higher than it is now.
Under the current Licence it started at 6 per cent. but was increased to 7½ per cent. in 1950. So far as the 7½ per cent. is concerned, this part of the Post Office does not set out to make a profit and does not, in fact, make one.
At this point I might say a word about the extent of the evasion of licences, as this, naturally, affects the amount of money which the B.B.C. have at their disposal. We have no reason to suppose that the amount of wilful evasion is excessive, but we find that a number of television viewers do not take out their licences as soon as they get their sets installed. As the House is aware, the Post Office a few months ago introduced some detector vans as an experiment, and this experiment is proving extremely successful. We propose to extend it all over the country. It is a commentary on human nature that the very appearance of the van itself in a particular area means that the number of television licences shoots up.
We still find that many motorists, even now, do not realise that a separate licence is required if a radio set is fitted to their car. There is no doubt that there is quite a serious loss of revenue in this direction. As soon as we announced, a few months ago, that special attention was to be paid to motorists, the number of licences for radio sets in motor cars shot up by about 30,000.
So far as the B.B.C.'s revenue is concerned, for the first three years they will receive 85 per cent., that is, after the deductions of the Post Office allowance. That is the figure which was proposed by the last Government, and in the present state of the national finances we regard it as reasonable.
If the hon. Gentleman likes to look at it that way I suppose it is. The B.B.C. revenue is making a contribution to the Exchequer. There is nothing to prevent the B.B.C. for asking, at any time during the three years, for this percentage to be increased if they can make out a case for such an increase. I might summarise the financial position by saying that for every pound paid in licence fees, the B.B.C. gets 15s. 9d., the Treasury 2s. 9d. and the Post Office the balance of 1s. 6d.
Those are the chief Clauses in the Licence which call for comment, but before I sit down perhaps I might say a word about future developments in both sound and television which we hope to see in operation during the lifetime of this Licence. The three developments are: first, the development of very high frequency sound here at home; second, television in colour; and, third, the reception of television programmes from abroad.
For sound broadcasting we are not likely to get any more medium wavelengths. In fact, as the people in Northern Ireland and on the North-East coast know only too well, we have not got enough wavelengths already, and these parts of the kingdom have to share the same wavelengths, to their mutual dislike. As I have said on more than one occasion, there is only one way out of the difficulty and that is the introduction of very high frequency. I hope that it will fall to my lot to assist in dissolving a very unhappy and unwelcome marriage.
Very high frequency transmissions will gradually—I want to stress the word "gradually"—become the normal method of transmission for most parts of the country. This should mean better reception and freedom from interference both at home and abroad for the vast majority of listeners. I do not want to give the impression that the B.B.C. will be able tomorrow to cover the country by v.h.f. transmitters. I must make that clear so that people now owning or thinking of buying ordinary sets will not think these sets will be of no use. In any case, quite apart from the fact that v.h.f. will gradually become the normal method of transmission at home, the medium wave transmission will continue for a very long time, because there are some parts of the country where medium wave transmission is more suitable than v.h.f.
I hope I have made it clear that when v.h.f. comes it is not proposed to take away the medium wave stations. The last impression I want to give either to the radio trade or the public is that the present medium wave set is out of date or is likely to be, otherwise we should be giving a false impression. I hope I have dealt adequately with the point raised by the hon. Member. The Advisory Committee on Television, whose functions are now to be extended to include very high frequency, will be asked for advice on the best method of introducing high frequency sound broadcasting, including the form of modulation which is to be used on which there will be consultations with the radio industry.
I want to say a word about colour. It is quite clearly a most desirable development in television, and will enhance beyond words the artistic value of television. Let me give two examples. Imagine Trooping the Colour in all its splendour or the English countryside in Spring. I only regret that we are not likely to have television in colour before the Coronation next year. Technical advances have been made, however, and some systems of televising in colour are, in fact, already available.
We should realise, however, that this is an extremely expensive business, and it is interesting to note that the United States, whose resources are far greater than ours are likely to be, have had to postpone the commercial exploitation of television in colour because of the Korean war. For that reason the House would not expect me to give any indication whatever as to when the B.B.C. are likely to be able to operate colour television in this country.
There is one other point I should like to clear up and it is the same as that put by the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Reeves) when he interrupted me, though in a different way. When colour television does come to this country it does not follow necessarily that the present sets, which only receive black and white pictures, will be out of date. It is technically possible to broadcast in such a way that those who have sets which pick up black and white pictures only can continue to do so, while those who have the new set which picks up in colour can also pick up the same programme in colour. I want to make that point clear; otherwise, people, thinking television in colour is only round the corner, will defer buying a set because they think it might be useless when colour comes.
As to reception from abroad, the question here is whether sufficient funds and resources can be set aside for the purpose. That is the main difficulty. As the House knows, there is to be an interesting experiment next month of a television programme from France. The French are using a different system, with a larger number of lines, and, therefore, it is necessary to convert their programmes by means of a convertor. To span the distance between London and Paris the B.B.C. have to set up a number of temporary intermediary stations so that the programmes can get across the Channel. It will be a very interesting experiment indeed, and, I think, will give some forecast of what is to come.
The prospect, which is also mentioned from time to time, of television being sent across the Atlantic, possibly via Newfoundland and Iceland is, I am told, quite possible technically, but a vast amount of capital would be required. Until we, and even the Americans, can devote more of our resources from rearmament, we are unlikely to see much in the way of results in that direction in the near future.
I hope I have covered to the satisfaction of the House those features of the Licence which call for comment. I think it a fair summary to say that the powers of the Postmaster-General in the technical field are widened a little, to take account of the developments which are expected during the licence term. On the other hand, the Corporation are placed in a position of greater independence respecting television and Government veto and the power to require the Corporation to broadcast at the request of Government Departments.
I think that is a fair summary of the new Licence, compared with the one which is now in force. I trust that the new Licence, which in other respects is similar to that granted in 1946, will commend itself to both sides of the House and that it will be approved.
In the speech we have just heard from the Assistant Postmaster-General, the hon. Gentleman stuck pretty closely to his brief. It was an admirable, although not an exhilarating, brief—but the hon. Gentleman has had a very hard day. It is the third speech he has made in the course of the day. He stuck to the very narrow limits of the Licence, but he gave us some valuable information. On the whole, the things he did not say were more interesting than the things that he talked about.
We have to keep within the terms of the Licence. The Assistant Postmaster-General said that it would not be proper for him to refer in any way to the terms of the Charter. I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, to look at Clause 24 (1, b)of the Licence, where you will find it stated that the Postmaster-General may revoke the Licence
in case of any breach, non-observance or non-performance by or on the part of the Corporation of any of the provisions or conditions contained in the Royal Charter of the Corporation.
It therefore seems that the provisions of the Charter, or some of them, are made an integral part of the Licence. By that paragraph they are made just as much a condition of the continuance of the Licence as are the terms of the Charter itself.
I want to use that fact to make one or two points and to ask questions about matters which are obscure, bur which are, by that Clause, laid upon the B.B.C. as conditions of the continuance of the Licence.
It might be of assistance to the House if I said a word or two here about the limits of the discussion, as I see them. I desire to ask the assistance of the House in keeping this debate within order, as it is not going to be easy. The paragraph to which the right hon. Member has just referred, saying that the Licence may be revoked if a condition laid down in the Charter is broken, does not allow the whole of the Charter to come up for discussion. That would be an absurd conclusion. The utmost I can say in advance is that it would permit such references to the Charter as are necessary to make an argument which is relevant to the Licence intelligible.
I hope that is clear. On general grounds, this Motion deals mostly with the operation of the B.B.C. and not with its constitution. That is the broad distinction. Therefore, on this Licence, the references to such matters as we discussed the other day on the White Paper, which was much wider, as to the method of appointing Governors, the constitution of regional councils, and so on, would be out of order. They are proper for the Charter itself and for a wider debate such as we then had.
The House will see that there is a reference to sponsoring in this Licence, but that only amounts to this, that the B.B.C. is itself prohibited by Clause 14 from broadcasting for other persons for money. The wider question that we have discussed, of persons other than the B.B.C. broadcasting, would involve another Licence and not the document before us. That issue is out of order. I do not want to take up the time of the House myself, but I thought that might be of assistance.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for your very clear Ruling. I was going to deal with one or two matters in the Charter which concerned the operation of the B.B.C, which you said would be in order. One of these questions is on page 12 of the Licence and concerns the right of the national Broadcasting Councils to employ staff. It seems to be a condition laid upon the B.B.C. which, if they fail to fulfil, may lead to the revocation of their Licence, but it is none the less very obscure.
I would ask the Assistant Postmaster-General with whom contracts of service are to be concluded by the people who are to be employed by the national Broadcasting Councils. Are the contracts of service to be with the B.B.C. or with the national Broadcasting Councils? It is very important that they should be with the B.B.C. Otherwise, there will not be the mobility of staff for promotion. Secondly, and even more important, the B.B.C. would not be able to carry out another obligation which is laid upon them, to negotiate agreements with trade unions on behalf of the people employed by the Corporation. If there were people in the broadcasting services, but not employed by the Corporation, the Corporation would not be able to discharge this much more important obligation.
Perhaps I might say a word or two about this important obligation, which is laid upon the B.B.C, of trade union recognition, as it concerns the operation of the Corporation. It is a duty and a condition of their Licence. I am now referring to page 14 of the Charter. It is a condition to which we attach the greatest importance and we want to insist rigidly upon the fulfilment of this condition of the Licence. Clause 16 of the Charter is the same as the one which was agreed to in the 1946 Charter, but it was then new. It was changed in 1946 from the previous Charter granted in 1936. Moreover, the words used are identical with the words in the relevant Sections of Nationalisation Statutes, like the Civil Aviation Act.
From that we can deduce that it was intended in 1946 that the B.B.C. should behave in a different way from previously in regard to negotiation of agreements with trade unions, that it should, broadly speaking, act like a national board. That change was intended in 1946; we are now in 1952, and very little progress has been made in that direction. I hope that the Assistant Postmaster-General will bear in mind that the validity of the Licence depends upon the B.B.C.'s carrying out this condition properly.
I come to the Licence itself. I am sorry that the word "overseas" has been dropped in favour of "external." The other is a very much better word, but there seems to be some politics in it which I do not understand.
It is accurate and ugly. It is an unfortunate word. There is a new provision in the Licence on page 9 by which the B.B.C. for the first time is laid under an obligation to monitor overseas services. It no longer, as previously, has a choice in this matter. The B.B.C. monitors largely for the sake of other Departments of State and there has been a rapid increase in recent years in the demand of those other Departments, and it is likely to increase still further.
Of course, the charge for monitoring has to be met by the B.B.C. out of the grant-in-aid. In other words the B.B.C. is increasingly devoting part of its grant to monitoring services not intended for its own use but for the use of other Departments of State. If there is an extra burden laid on the B.B.C. by order of the Postmaster-General, the cost of that extra burden ought to be met outside the grant-in-aid. It is a considerable sum.
I said they were largely intended for the use of other Departments of State. Of course the B.B.C. would have a monitoring service in any case, but if it were not servicing anyone else, the cost would be smaller. The present cost is £450,000 a year and well over half is for other Departments and not for the B.B.C.
We now come to what is our real duty, which is to discuss the Licence as a whole, because we have to decide our attitude to the Licence as a whole at the end of the day. We are not allowed to amend it, only to approve or reject it. Of course, we want a Licence to the B.B.C. and, on the face of it, I admit that this Licence is the same as previous Licences, but it is, in fact, quite a new creature. It is what is called a nonexclusive Licence. The Government have dragged that word into the Royal Charter for the first time so that we shall be told what is the document we have in front of us. It is described as a nonexclusive Licence. [An HON. MEMBER: "It always was."] It has never been so described before.
Under the Charter the B.B.C. is only allowed to apply for a non-exclusive Licence, so the fact that this is a nonexclusive Licence is a condition precedent to the whole Licence, and one cannot understand the Licence at all unless one takes that fact into account. Although it is the same in form and might deceive anyone who does not make a comparison, it is a Licence of a new kind. It is designed to fit into a system of sponsored television.
In this context there are three points in the Licence to which one would not normally pay attention but which are now very important, and all of which relate to the problem of sponsorship and none of which can be sensibly discussed without some passing reference to the background of this document. The first is on page 10 of the Licence where it says that the B.B.C. is to be paid 85 per cent, of all licence fees. We were always in favour of that but in different conditions from now.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman is seeking, as he said, to widen the scope of the debate on the ground that the term "nonexclusive Licence" appears in the Charter. As you know, Mr. Speaker, this is merely declaratory of the position that has always existed. The Licence has always been a non-exclusive one, and therefore the fact that it merely declares an existing condition cannot, I submit, mean that it is possible to widen the debate and discuss the matters outside it which you mentioned earlier.
As I understand it, the position has always been that the Postmaster-General could issue a licence to anyone but, in fact, has never done so. The remarks of the right hon. Gentleman should exclude the discussion of sponsored television.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is a document with a new description. In the 25 years in which we have been dealing with these things, it has never been so described. Surely in that case we are within our rights to inquire as to the exact meaning of this new description; to ask whether it is a new thing or not.
We have been told one thing in one answer. I want to ask a lot more questions. Here we have a new description and we are entitled to assume that the Government are not unnecessarily lavish in their words and therefore do not describe something in new terms unless it is something new.
Before I was interrupted, I was trying to show that there were three points in the Licence which led one on to a brief glance at the problem of sponsorshire. The first is on page 10, where there is a reference to 85 per cent. The situation is entirely new, because the Government are proposing to expose the B.B.C. to most bitter and unscrupulous competition and therefore they should not—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why unscrupulous?"] If I may be allowed to say so, I will explain it later on. Therefore, the Government have not the same sort of case to maintain this 85 per cent. If the Government are to be consistent and logical, they should enable the B.B.C. to equip itself to meet this competition by giving it the whole 100 per cent. It would be quite a different thing if this were an old-fashioned Charter and not a non-exclusive Charter.
Then there is the definition on page 4 of the Licence of a sponsored programme. It will no doubt be said that the same words have been used here as have appeared always before. Quite true, but there is a new significance. Before, this was something that we were to be spared; now it is something that is to be thrust upon us. Therefore, we have to scrutinise this definition with much more care.
Thirdly, there is the reference which you yourself, Mr. Speaker, drew to our attention, that the B.B.C. is prohibited from itself sending out sponsored programmes. It seems to me impossible to consider whether that is right or not unless we discuss whether other sponsored programmes should be permitted. It was done in the 1946 debate——
This is difficult, but the document which we have before us is a licence to the B.B.C. If it had been a licence to some other person to engage in competition with the B.B.C., we would have had that document before us and the argument of the right hon. Gentleman would have been relevant to that. As, however, we are dealing only with a licence to the B.B.C, it would be wrong to permit a discussion on a hypothetical state of affairs when we have not before us a document to that effect.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would you note the reference on page 13, in Clause 24 (2):
Nothing in this Clause contained shall be deemed to prejudice or affect any statutory power of the Postmaster-General.
Also the title of this document refers to an agreement "Between Her Majesty's Postmaster-General and the British Broadcasting Corporation." Surely we are entitled thereby to consider the other powers of the Postmaster-General in regard to broadcasting?
I do not think the words make much difference. It has always been in the power of the Postmaster-General to license anybody. However, as far as the House knows at the moment from the document which he has presented to us, he is granting a licence to the B.B.C., not to anybody else. I do not wish in any way to confine the debate within undue limits, but I hope the House will take the sense of what I have said into its mind because it would not be proper for me to allow the debate to range over too wide an area.
With great respect, Mr. Speaker, in previous debates, of which we have had a number for some years, there has generally been a fairly wide discussion. Sometimes they were taken on a Post Office Vote but on the last occasion the debate was taken on the Licence. That debate ranged over a number of topics, because the Licence is really the foundation of the Charter. There is also an allusion to the intentions of the Government. We have here a Licence which is designed to implement a policy which has already been set out. Therefore, we have before us, quite clearly, the kind of policy for which this Licence is intended. I submit, therefore, that when we have unusual, new phraseology introduced into this Licence, we are entitled to consider that in the light of the professed policy of the Government.
Further to the point that the Leader of the Opposition has made, I have checked that point because I anticipated that some reference might be made to it. If I may, with respect, correct the right hon. Gentleman's recollection of the last debate on the Licence, there was a Ruling of your predecessor, Mr. Speaker, directly on the point. Mr. Speaker Clifton Brown said:
The hon. Gentleman is now talking about commercial radio, but we are discussing the Agreement between the Government and the British Broadcasting Corporation, and he must confine himself to that.
A short time later, having, if I may say so with respect, a little difficulty in restraining the exuberance of hon. Members who wished to widen the debate, your predecessor said:
The Motion before the House is to approve the Licence and Agreement. It is not a Supply Day on the B.B.C. Subjects outside the Agreement seem to me to be going far too wide.
His deputy, the Chairman of Ways and Means, said:
The question before the House is as to whether the Licence and Agreement shall be approved. The hon. Gentleman appears to be going into a good deal of detail as to various complaints."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1946; Vol. 431, c. 1231, 1250, 1257.]
The Deputy-Chairman of Committees, the late Mr. Beaumont, ruled to the same effect. That was a debate on exactly the same point as this.
That debate could have lasted only a very short time if it had been confined strictly to that, but in actual practice, as I recall it, it ranged over all kinds of things—programmes and the rest. There is an entirely new point which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has omitted. The fact was that commercial broadcasting was ruled out on that occasion because it was not in issue. Now it has been deliberately put in issue by the Government.
May I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to columns 1240–1246 of that debate, just after the Ruling given by your predecessor, when Mr. McAllister made quite a considerable speech on this very problem of monopoly and commercial broadcasting and was not called to order. There were other matters, like the discussion of the requisition of a house by the Ministry of Works, which was drawn to Mr. Speaker's attention at the time, which were not ruled out of order. I hope that we shall have as much latitude as was then allowed.
Further to the point of order. May I call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the definition, on page 4 of the White Paper, of "sponsored programme"? That is a phrase and an element which is quite special and new to the Licence. Therefore, what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just said seems to me to be quite irrelevant, because in the previous debate this phrase and this element did not occur. Therefore, it was perfectly logical that it could not then be discussed.
Whether it was or was not part of the previous Licence, it is quite clear from the context of the Licence that that refers to the B.B.C. broadcasting matters for payment by other persons, and not to the wider question of sponsorship as we understand it, namely, other people engaging in competition.
I have read today the debate to which reference has been made and I was aware of the Rulings of my predecessor in this matter, which are in line with my own. If occasionally the debate strayed beyond those limits, I think there was a considerable effort made by the Chair to restrain it within the limits. I would ask hon. Members to keep their remarks relevant to this Licence as far as they can.
I repeat that matters outside the Licence which it may be necessary to refer to in the course of discussion in order to render intelligible an argument directed to the Licence, would be in order. I think that if hon. Members work within these broad limits we shall have a useful discussion.
I will do my utmost, Mr. Speaker, to keep my remarks within the limits of what is necessary to make the Licence itself intelligible—not arguments upon it, but the Licence itself. I should, therefore, like to go on from where I was interrupted, with the question of our attitude to the Licence as a whole, which it is our duty to decide upon tonight.
When we regard the Licence as a whole, we do not at all want to get ourselves into the position of saying that there are no objections to or defects in monopoly; we certainly would not go very far in the direction of the rather Olympian attitude of the Corporation. What we say is that on balance the existing system, which the Government by this Licence now want to amend greatly, is far the best for this country, and that a non-exclusive Licence of this type would be the worst of all solutions. A number of solutions have been put forward—and this is the worst of all. It would debase and alter the whole tradition on which we have built up our broadcasting.
The Government, in producing a nonexclusive Licence, have altogether ignored—indeed, they have not even mentioned—the very powerful arguments in the Beveridge Report against a nonexclusive Licence. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side are very fond of justifying this non-exclusive Licence idea by quoting other Commonwealth countries and their practice, where both systems compete side by side, as the Government intend to have in this country. We have had just as powerful a condemnation of this in Canada as we have had in this country by the Beveridge Report.
If the hon. Member had done me the kindness to listen to my speech, I started by referring to a section of the Licence which incorporates part of the Charter. I then look at the Charter and see the part of it that has thereby to be incorporated—namely, the objects of the Corporation—and I find that the Corporation is in future only able to ask for a non-exclusive Licence. That is, therefore, a condition of the Licence, and that is how it gets into the Licence by a side wind.
We have as weighty a condemnation of this dual system, this non-exclusive Licence system, in Canada as we have had in this country in the Beveridge Report. There has been the very famous Massey Report, produced by Mr. Vincent Massey, who is now Governor-General of Canada.
On a point of order. I submit, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that the right hon. Gentleman is not abiding by the Ruling of your predecessor in the Chair. He is quite deliberately introducing a general argument on sponsoring. Mr. Speaker ruled that he could only include such references to the Charter as would make the Licence intelligible, and said that we could not have a general debate on sponsoring. I submit, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman is breaking the Ruling of Mr. Speaker.
I will, naturally, do my best to keep within the Ruling given by Mr. Speaker. I observe, however, that the other side seem to be extraordinarily shy of discussing the matter, and I do not doubt that people outside the House will draw the proper conclusion. The party opposite are using rather gagging methods to try to stop this being discussed at all. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I am not referring to the Chair—naturally not.
May I explain our attitude and why we are against a non-exclusive Licence? This is a non-exclusive Licence and we have to decide our attitude. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not interrupt me for a moment, I wish to explain why we are against a non-exclusive Licence. We think that a unique medium like broadcasting should be a public service, and a non-exclusive Licence means that it need not be a public service. Only if we have an exclusive Licence for broadcasting can we see that it is used to raise the standards of taste and education in the country. That is the only way to avoid a debasement of standards which would come if we had a non-exclusive Licence.
For more than a quarter of a century we have had an exclusive Licence, a system on which we were all agreed, and which was started under a Conservative Government. Now, for the first time in a quarter of a century, we have this departure, this new creature of a non-exclusive Licence, and the thing has been brought into public controversy and party conflict for the first time.
I do protest, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. A Ruling has been given and the right hon. Gentleman is directing his speech to a direct argument on sponsoring or not. That has been ruled out of order, and I protest against the flouting of a decision in this way, deliberately.
It is a nonexclusive Licence, as every previous Licence has been a non-exclusive Licence. Of course it is and, as Mr. Speaker just said when the right hon. Gentleman directed that point, the Postmaster-General has always had the power to issue as many licences as he liked and it was with that well in mind that Mr. Speaker gave his Ruling.
It is the first time the words have been in, but not the first time that it has been a non-exclusive Licence. Every Licence has been a non-exclusive Licence.
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman uses new words, he must allow us also to have views on the meanings of those words. He cannot use words, define them and rule out everyone else's question about the meaning of those new words. He has gone out of his way to use new words and we are entitled to probe to see if there is anything new in this new word. He uses new words and tries to dragoon us on their interpretation.
May I appeal to all hon. and right hon. Gentlemen. Mr. Speaker has made his Ruling clear on a very difficult matter. It is a very difficult line to draw, but I hope that all hon. and right hon. Gentlemen will try to observe that line, however difficult it is, and will observe the Ruling which Mr. Speaker gave.
We now have one thing clear. It is a non-exclusive Licence; we have been told by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I can assure him that the previous Licence for which we were responsible was an exclusive Licence—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]. I can assure him that it was so.
I am certain the right hon. Gentleman is not attempting to mislead the House but is trying to indicate the views of hon. Members opposite. I understand from you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and I understood from your predecessor, that a discussion of anything outside the Licence, except in broad terms, is out of order. Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that the previous Licence did not give the Postmaster-General the opportunity to issue licences to people who wanted them? If not, this is irrelevant to the argument.
I am suggesting no such thing. I was saying that our previous Licence was an exclusive Licence in fact and the present Licence is a nonexclusive Licence in fact. We must be allowed to express our views on this nonexclusive Licence in fact, and I suggest that it would be an abuse of the rules of order to try to narrow the matter much more narrowly than Mr. Speaker did in his Ruling a little time ago.
The Government, naturally, have deployed every argument they can in favour of a non-exclusive Licence and let themselves in for grotesque paradoxes and contradictions. It is said that one great justification for a non-exclusive Licence is that the Press does not have a monopoly control, and why should the B.B.C.? We have the Lord Chancellor bringing in Milton to justify the non-exclusive Licence.
We say that the broadcasting medium is a unique medium because it is the only one which goes into the home. It is quite unlike the Press or any other medium and no one has suggested a board of control for the Press and limitations against politics and religion in the Press. That gives the whole game away, because the advocates of this non-exclusive Licence admit that there is an inherent tendency towards degeneration in this. Otherwise, they would not set up a board of control.
I shall content myself by saying that I presume the hon. Member means that there should be a pre-censorship for television as there is for films and theatres, as he has indicated the exact analogy. Censorship cannot stop degeneration. We have had experience of that in the United States, Canada and elsewhere. It cannot stop it because we cannot have pre-censorship; we have to catch up with it afterwards. There will be competing T.V. studios and it is intended, as a result of this Licence, to seek sponsors and viewers at all costs. Our children all over the country will be exposed to new dangers.
There is a vital question which, I suggest, 'is completely in order and to which we must have an answer before we decide our attitude to this non-exclusive Licence. When is the non-exclusive Licence likely to become a reality by the creation of other licences? This is a non-exclusive Licence, potentially; when is it to become actual? The right hon. and learned Gentleman will have noticed an article in "The Times" the other day on this matter speaking of the
growing suspicion that the public has yet to be told what the Cabinet has got at the back of its mind—or minds.
When is this non-exclusiveness to become a reality? The Postmaster-General told us that it would not be before five new low-powered television stations have been built. The Lord Chancellor said that it would be several years. The Assistant Postmaster-General said the other day:
it is the hope of the Government that it will be possible before long that this experiment can actually be started. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th June, 1952; Vol. 502, c. 329.]
Who speaks for the Government? Does "before long" means the same as "several years"? I think we are entitled, before we decide what to do about this non-exclusive Licence, to have a categorical answer to the question whether the Postmaster-General, in another place, was representing the policy of the Government when he said that other licences would not be given before five new low-powered television stations had been set up. That does not correspond altogether with the words used by the Assistant Postmaster-General. I should like the right hon. and learned Gentleman, if he can go that far within the rules of order, to give an answer to this very important question.
The answer to this question of when the non-exclusivity of this Licence is likely to become an issue in relation to this very Licence is all the more crucial because the vultures are already gathering to pick at what they hope will be the carcase of British broadcasting. I should like to say to this new company that has been formed, which is closely associated with a number of interests which are very vocal in this House, that they will be very wise to think twice before they do anything rash. They are actuated by commercial considerations, and they would be wise to hesitate before they rush into a matter of deep political controversy and division. I see that this company have so far ventured only £100 in this matter. That is very wise of them. They would be wise to wait; these would-be early birds might find the worm very elusive.
They should remember that, however fast this Government may contrive to go, they will not be able to do this thing for several years, and they will be out of office long before that. We shall certainly not carry on the policy implied in this non-exclusive Licence. The Government have no mandate whatever for doing this. There was no hint of it when they were in opposition or during the election campaign, and it would be monstrous to make this non-exclusive Licence into a reality without a prior election.
It would be against all the traditions of our democracy to make a change like this, which it is now clear, through the Press, is dividing our country deeply, without a fresh election. Let no one doubt that this non-exclusive Licence is a matter about which we feel deeply. We will fight the whole principle of it in Parliament and in the country, and we are sure that we have the backing of the great majority of the people in this matter. We will do our utmost to preserve and maintain the traditional methods that have given us the best broadcasting system in the world, and we reserve our full right to frustrate this retrograde innovation of a non-exclusive Licence.
We shall, therefore, when the end of the debate comes, which I am afraid has been greatly delayed by interruptions, have to divide the House, not because we are against a Licence as such but because we are against, and bitterly and deeply against, a non-exclusive Licence. As we cannot, under the rules of order, move any Amendment, we have no choice, if we wish to express our deeply felt views on the matter, but to divide the House at the end of the debate.
This debate seems to be getting heated. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) became almost hysterical with anger about a proposal which he himself said could not possibly come into existence for several years. He did his best to transfix my right hon. and learned Friend as to when it was to happen and then answered his own question to his entire satisfaction. He might have discussed the matter before us with a little more equanimity.
We are discussing a question of great importance, and we have, fortunately, quite a long time in which to do it. I am not referring to the more vehement speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) at week-ends because he has never been noticeably over-restrained on any of these matters. Of course, we sympathise with him. He is fighting for his life. His lot is pretty hard——
It is remarkable for an ex-Foreign Secretary to say anything like that. We shall wait with interest to see if, in any future Government, the right hon. Gentleman is again entrusted with those seals of office which he so signally mishandled in the last one.
We are discussing a matter of more general importance than the various forms of hysteria of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. We are discussing a Licence which is brought before us, and a matter about which many of us on both sides of the House feel fairly keenly. I hope that no one will suggest that I have any connection with any commercial company promoting sponsored broadcasting or television.
It may be, but I have done a great deal more broadcasting than has the hon. Gentleman, and for many more years. I have a great deal more acquaintance than he has with practical broadcasting.
The general position of the Government is strengthened by the fact that in many cases the service given at present by the B.B.C. is not satisfactory. I was amazed to hear the general chorus of adulation which was going on all round the House about the wonderful system of broadcasting which we have. I was staggered to hear Member after Member say that everybody had the choice of at least three programmes and that many have the choice of seven.
Let me mention my own part of the country. For what are we paying licence fees? We cannot get television, of course; we cannot get the Third Programme; we cannot get the Scottish programme. We hear all this talk about whether we are to have Beethoven interrupted by advertisements for pills, but it is not a matter of us having Beethoven. We cannot even get the bagpipes.
We are told that we have the best system in the world. The system on the North-East coast is a disgrace. The system of broadcasting on either side of the Scottish Border is a disgrace. If it had been the subject of a little healthy competition that disgrace would have been removed long before now. The right hon. Member for Smethwick spoke at length about the report which had been made by Mr. Vincent Massey about broadcasting in Canada. Let him look at a report much nearer home—the report made by an ex-Governor-General of the B.B.C, Sir Frederick Ogilvie, in which he said that it would be a very good thing if there was competition; that it would be for the good of the B.B.C.
Hon. and right hon. Members opposite must not assume this high and mighty moral tone as if everybody opposed to them was a vulture—I think that was the cheerful phrase of the right hon. Gentleman.
I was not referring to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman when I used the word "vulture." I was referring to those companies outside that are gathering round to profit from the policy of the Government.
The hon. Member wishes to repeat and underline the phrase. The right hon. Gentleman is not entitled to take this high moral attitude in view of the many eminent people who have given evidence to the contrary. I go no further than an ex-Director-General of the B.B.C., himself a man of the highest moral character—Sir Frederick Ogilvie.
We do not have the system which we ought to have, at any rate in the parts of the country from which I come. The irontight and airtight system which the right hon. Gentleman is advocating will bring disaster to the B.B.C. He for the first time is demanding a new system. He is going to divide the House in favour of a departure from 25 years of practice in this country. He is going to divide the House in favour of an exclusive Charter and against the non-exclusive rights of the Postmaster-General which he has enjoyed ever since broadcasting came into existence in this country.
Hon. Members opposite are the people who are demanding the innovation. They are the people who wish to make a change. They have no right to demand that in the name of their high moral principles. They can say that they would like a monopoly; they do. They can say that they object to competition; they do. Those are the views of hon. Members opposite but they are not the views of hon. Members on this side of the House. Those views are not held by many people in this country, and we find that the argument for an airtight monopoly is not as strong as the right hon. Gentleman would wish us to believe. It is not enough for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he does not believe in this absolutely airtight monopoly. He will find advocates on his own side.
The right hon. Gentleman will find a remarkable article by Lord Reith in last week's "Observer," demanding that there should be a monopoly and saying, "What is the matter with a monopoly if it is justly and considerately exercised?" That is the argument of tyrants in all ages—what is the matter with a monopoly, if the tyrant is to judge how the monopoly shall be exercised. The argument in this article against the proposals for some departure from monopoly and for some form of extension of licence was refuted, oddly enough, by an article in another part of the paper praising the extraordinarily fine work of the Glyndebournne opera, which had been brought into existence by one of the same vultures which the right hon. Gentleman is so anxious to denounce.
The argument that all progress has been made by public bodies and never by any body operating privately cannot be borne out in fact. That very argument is today breaking down before the right hon. Gentleman's eyes. The introduction of the new feature of v.h.f. into broadcasting will mean that it will be as easy and as simple to have a small broadcasting station with a local range as it is to have a local newspaper. Hon. Members opposite are already making use of small commercial v.h.f. stations. Hon. Members only have to go out and summon a taxi. The taxi will very likely be summoned from a v.h.f. station, and I have never heard that it has been used for disseminating pornography, as hon. Members would wish us to believe.
These new decentralisations are absolutely necessary, and where they are particularly necessary is in these new national developments of broadcasting which are about to take place. We are not now discussing the airtight monopoly. That has failed; that is already on its way out. What we are discussing are the conditions under which the airtight monopoly is to be liquidated in the future. Not one hon. Member opposite dares to suggest for a moment that the process of 100 per cent. centralisation in Portland Place, which is what is asked for by those extremists on the opposite side of the House, would be supported either in Scotland or in Wales.
Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in favour of commercial competition? I can quite see a case for competition between public bodies, but is he in favour of commercial competition?
First of all, I would say that I am opposed to the monopoly. If I carry the right hon. Gentleman with me on that I have taken him a long way. Secondly, I would say that the Press and the opera promoters have certainly done nothing to demand that they should be ruled out as untouchable in any kind of promotion of either entertainment or education for the people of this country. As I say, the Glyndebourne opera itself is one of the outstanding examples of a man of wealth devoting his wealth to elevating the public taste.
Hon. Members opposite suggest that all men of great wealth are vultures— [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] That is the argument they have brought forward, that they wish to imply that such people feed upon carrion. That is the sort of argument that is being submitted. I say that in Scotland and in Wales decentralisation will have to take place. Not a single Member representing a constituency in Scotland or Wales would deny that that is so.
Decentralisation for the purpose of fulfilling the needs of particular areas by the public broadcasting service is an entirely different matter from that which we are discussing, namely, the breaking down of the public monopoly of the B.B.C. for the benefit of private enterprise and the flood of private advertisements which will follow.
Is it not a fact that under the present B.B.C. set-up one has one's regional services, which are locally autonomous to a very large extent to the selection of their programmes? There is none of the tyrranist monopoly complex at Broadcasting House. That is just a figment of the right hon. and gallant Member's imagination. He is distorting the whole picture.
Hon. Members opposite are for 100 per cent. centralisation. We know that very well. There is not a penny spent which is controlled by the executive in Scotland or Wales. If one reads or listens to the speeches or reads the arguments put forward by hon. Members opposite, they are all against effective devolution—which is what we want—not only of authority over programmes but the Executive power to spend money, which is one of the absolute touchstones of the truth.
There should be a non-exclusive Licence—I am sticking closely to the phrase used by the right hon. Member for Smethwick in his arguments—and not an exclusive Licence. The right hon. Gentleman said that he would divide the House tonight on the question of an exclusive Licence—a 100 per cent. control in Portland Place of all broadcasting in this country for ever.
That is not a point of order. I want a non-exclusive Licence, but the right hon. Member is going into the Lobby for an exclusive Licence.
I think that there should be even more devolution to the regions than is proposed under this scheme. I might myself divide against this scheme, but for different reasons than those of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I do not think this goes far enough in the provision of devolution and the breaking up of the monopoly. I look forward to the day when there is a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, when there is a Radio Scotland, and we shall be able to provide our own programmes in our own country.
I am opposed to the high degree of centralisation for which the right hon. Gentleman asked us to go into the Lobby in his support tonight. He says that the airtight monopoly came into existence because of certain technical conditions, but those conditions no longer exist. We have plenty of time. For years to come it will not be possible to make any changes. There will be plenty of time for the changes to take place and to be fully discussed on many occasions in this House.
We ought now to be discussing seriously, and not as some form of taboo, whether there can be other provisions for broadcasting in this country except that provided from Portland Place. It is time we were discussing these things, and when morals are introduced, we have at least as much right as right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to say that we resent it, that we throw it back again and that there is no more reason to proclaim us as vultures than there is for us to proclaim them.
I am listening to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's argument with interest and I have sympathy with some parts of it, but I am not clear about what he suggests for Scotland. Does he suggest that Scotland should deprive herself of the right to draw upon British programmes', with their great resources?
The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that no such provision was in my mind, or could be in my mind. After all, if Russia can beam her programmes upon Scotland, it is not impossible for us to pick up English programmes. I have never heard it suggested that we were going to set up jamming stations in Scotland to prevent the English broadcasting programmes from being heard there, or that when Tommy Handley was on the air, the sound of bubbling water would pour forth on Scottish radio sets to prevent him from being heard.
We say that there is room for all, that there is more room on the ether than there has been, that advantage should be taken of it, and that there is a place both for an increase in the national system and an increase in the privately promoted system, too. We say that these things should be discussed without adopting any "holier than thou" attitude, without introducing the attitude of the untouchables—"these are the Brahmins." The reason for this caste system has long since passed. We say that we must consider when and where and how the monopoly which has existed up to now shall be modified. That should be discussed in a realistic spirit, and until it is discussed in a realistic spirit we shall make no progress in these debates.
The right hon. and gallant Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) has said that he would welcome the setting up of a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, but there is no proposal in the Licence before the House to grant a licence to a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot remove the fears of hon. Gentlemen on these benches that behind all these non-committal terms, such as "nonexclusive Licence" and the other phraseology used in the Licence and in the White Paper that preceded it, if the Government have their way we are going to get sponsored television, financed by commercial interests, and we are going to get our entertainment by courtesy of the brewers and our education by courtesy of the bookmakers. Quite categorically, we want neither entertainment nor education at the hands of such interests. If the proposal were to set up a Scottish or any other kind of broadcasting corporation on the traditional lines of the B.B.C., the attitude on these benches would be very different.
I hope the House will permit me to turn to the particular vultures which I want to criticise, and they are the Treasury and Her Majesty's Government. The depredations which I wish to criticise come in paragraph 17 of the Licence. I am surprised how tolerant the House has been, over the years, of the imposition of a form of indirect taxation on the listeners in the provision whereby only a percentage of the net licence revenue is handed over to the B.B.C.
This Licence proposes to continue for three years the provision that only 85 per cent. of the net licence revenue shall be paid to the B.B.C. The net licence revenue consists of the gross takings, less a deduction made by the Post Office, as the Minister said, of 7½per cent. for administrative charge. I am surprised at the tolerance of the House at this proposal. Over the years all Governments have done the same thing—except a Liberal Government that have not yet had the opportunity of following the evil course of Governments in this particular matter.
At present, if a member of the public desires to become a listener to broadcast programmes he has to buy a receiving set, and on that pays Purchase Tax. He pays the Purchase Tax to buy the set and then has to pay another tax to use it, and this other tax at the present time is 15 per cent. of the wireless receiving set fee of 20s. which he pays through the Post Office. So that there is a tax of 3s. a year for the use of the set for which he has had to pay Purchase Tax.
What I am about to submit to the House is that if we are to impose taxes on listening they should have their proper place in the Budget proposals and be incorporated in the Finance Bill in the usual way. This is a deception upon the listening public. I refer the House to the Report of the Broadcasting Committee of 1949. which, in paragraph 419, stated:
The first Committee of Inquiry, in 1923, presented the view that, while no part of the cost of home broadcasting ought to fall on the general taxpayer, the Government should not seek to make a net profit out of the licence fees.
It went on to say:
Successive Governments have accepted the first half of this proposition, but not the second half.
In its recommendation in paragraph 420 the Committee said:
Whether it should be 100 per cent., or something less than 100 per cent., depends upon whether it is thought right to retain part of the licence fee paid by listeners and viewers as a contribution towards the general expenses of the Government, as has been done until the present year.
It went on to say, in confirmation of the view I have just expressed:
This is a fiscal issue. …
I plead that fiscal matters should have their proper place in the business of this House, and not be hidden away in a Licence to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
I am anxious not to take up more time than necessary in view of the delay that has already occurred, but I must say that, aggravating this particular proposal, is the astonishing thing that the British Broadcasting Corporation is liable to Income Tax on that part of the Licence revenue which it sets aside in reserve, and since 1st January, 1947, the B.B.C. has paid over £5 million in ordinary Income Tax. That is not a matter which I can discuss at length in the criticism which I am making of Clause 17 of the proposed Licence, but it certainly does aggravate the financial position of the B.B.C, and adds to the indirect taxation which listeners are bearing when they are paying their normal licence fee to the Post Office.
I appreciate that, but one could argue whether, in fact, the B.B.C. is a trading concern, bearing in mind that the only revenue it has is that provided out of public moneys collected by the Government and assigned to the B.B.C. under the terms of the Licence.
The taxation of such items as that would be a different matter.
In my judgment—and the matter is referred to in some detail in Appendix H of the Report—this is another form of indirect taxation upon the listening public. It amounts to this. If the full licence revenue were paid to the B.B.C. and the position of the B.B.C. liability to direct taxation were also cleared up, the probability is that the licence fee could be reduced. If hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot reduce the cost of living, they might have a shot at reducing the cost of listening. That would be a great boon and benefit to many very poor folk, especially old-age pensioners who feel that they are paying very heavily indeed out of meagre resources for their licence fee.
I hope that this matter will receive the attention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and that in future we shall not have included in the Licence things which are more suitable and proper for discussion on fiscal matters. On that criticism of the Licence I will now give way to other hon. Members who are, no doubt, most anxious to contribute to the debate.
The phrase "exclusive Licence" and "non-exclusive Licence" has been brought into this debate from the Charter, and it is really on that, and on that alone, that the Opposition are dividing. They wish not only to alter the situation as it has been in the past, but to do it by making it positively clear that it shall be an exclusive Licence; and they are doing that at a time when there are considerable additional facilities for broadcasting and television.
I want to answer the question of the hon. Member who posed the dilemma that if there was to be an extention by additional programmes it would have to be necessarily by sponsorship. That just is not true. With the development of very-high-frequency it would be possible for, say, the Theatre Royal at Bath, on a quite short radius, to send out the play of a repertory theatre being played that week in Bath.
It would be possible for a listener to pay direct to the Theatre Royal for a connection through the telephone wire to his set, which would unscramble what was being sent over the air and give the listener in Bath the opportunity of enjoying a programme direct, without any sponsorship whatsoever, by a direct payment for it, just the same as he pays direct for it if he goes to the theatre.
I wish to emphasise what was said by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kenvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot), that we are reaching an era of local broadcasting comparable to the local newspaper. It is possible to have 100 new wavelengths scattered over the country operated on at the same time, just as there are 100 local papers in addition to the big national papers. We want, I think rightly, to provide the means for such an addition.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) introduced the question of Milton. It seems to me that broadcasting today is in the same position that the printing press was in in the time of Milton. In the early days the amount of paper and print available was very small, but now we have seen how it has become enormous. To begin with, there were very few radio wavelengths, but in future they will be considerable.
The odium with which the exclusive Licence is saddled is this, in my opinion: not that the B.B.C. are stopping any particular view from being put, but they are in a position to stop, and will be stopping, additional views being put. As a publisher, I do not in any way dissent from Her Majesty's Stationery Office publishing books, but Her Majesty's Stationery Office does not prevent other books from being published. When we plead for a non-exclusive Licence, we are saying that the time has come in the broadcasting business when what has happened in the realm of print ought to happen in the realm of the ether.
I accept the position that until this new freedom has been tried out we have to give it considerable restriction, but, in my view, speaking individually, I would not be sorry to see as great a freedom given to all these broadcasting units as is given to the printers and publishers in this country.
I am sorry, because I should have liked to answer that question, but since the question of exclusive or non-exclusive is in the Licence, and is out of order, I would rather get on to the issue, which I am sure is in order, and that is the terms which the B.B.C. have been given under this Licence.
It seems to me that under this Licence the B.B.C. are entitled themselves to go in for sponsored television and, if they like, for sponsored sound broadcasting, but I do not think that really arises. As I read Clause 14, it seems to me to be possible for the B.B.C. to get off to a flying start and themselves to put up sponsored television ahead of anybody else. I will deal with that in a minute and develop my point, if I may.
It seems to me that the television programmes have, in descending order, three types of external programmes in which they excel. First, we get the great national events like the Coronation which is coming. The B.B.C. will put that over on television, and I am sure that it will be a magnificent event. Equally, they get the opportunity of putting over programmes such as Wimbledon and Henley, and those are cases in which there are so many people wanting to go to Wimbledon and so many people who would not go to Henley unless they were going there in any case, that the broadcasting on television of these two programmes does not deduct from the revenue of the promoters of them more than the fee that the B.B.C. can afford to pay.
Do not let hon. Members run away from the fact that even when they run a whist drive, the gate of that whist drive is the very essence of the success of that social unit in their community. I would say that in the case of Henley or Wimbledon or the Cup Final or any of these great social, community events the receipt of the gate is a fundamental, important and perfectly correct issue. The real trouble arises in the case of the Cup Final, the Grand National or a big boxing tournament where, undoubtedly, the broadcasting immensely reduces the gate and makes it almost impossible to conduct such a social and great occasion. So there must be some means whereby, if the public generally are to continue to enjoy these events on television, adequate payments should be made possible.
I would say that within the terms of the existing Licence it is perfectly reasonable for the B.B.C. to go to, say, the Gillette Razor Company and say, "If you like to pay Mrs. Topham whatever fee you like, we are entitled, under Clause 14— because it does not include a payment of money from the Gillette Razor Company to us—to pay our usual fee to Mrs. Topham and so broadcast the Grand National as ' any performance given in public' and it does not preclude us from announcing the place of the performance and from acknowledging any permission granted."
Is the hon. Gentleman really saying that Clause 14 permits that? Is not the effect of Clause 14 clearly this? First of all, it says categorically that there is not to be the right to emit a sponsored programme by the B.B.C. at all. Then it goes on to limit and to define what the B.B.C. can do, and the definition excludes such matters as those to which the hon. Member is now specifically referring. It is as clear as daylight.
I would always defer to any hon. and learned Member on a matter of law, and I naturally defer to the hon. and learned Member, but I should say that if a fee of £100—I suppose that is what the B.B.C. would pay for the Grand National—was paid to Mrs. Topham there would be the right to broadcast the Grand National, there having been an arrangement between Mrs. Topham and the Gillette Razor Company.
Will the hon. Gentleman look at the concluding words of the Clause? It is clear that it is strictly and specifically limited to the announcement over the B.B.C, without payment or any fee whatsoever, of the date of some concert or theatrical performance, nothing more and nothing less.
…any other performance of whatsoever kind given in public. …
and I interpreted that to mean the Grand National.
I do not want to get into an argument. I believe I have made my point sufficiently. It may be illegal and I defer to the hon. and learned Gentleman on the issue, but if it is legal in this respect I hope that the Postmaster-General will allow the B.B.C. to get off to a flying start in this direction. That will do two things. First, it will give the public a grand spectacle which it is at present denied; and, second, it will put the B.B.C. in good fettle for the competition which will be extremely beneficial to them.
I shall not be controversial and I shall not talk about sponsored broadcasting. The Assistant Postmaster-General referred to the position in the North-East. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) also did so and said that the position was disgraceful. I want to tell the House and the Government exactly what the position is in the North-East.
We get a very raw deal from the B.B.C. in both sound broadcasting and television. We have no sound broadcasting wavelength of our own and share a medium wavelength with Northern Ireland, which means that the North-East has to listen for long periods to almost incomprehensible indigenous Irish programmes, things like "The M'Cooey's." There is very little community of interest between a country like Northern Ireland and a big industrial area like the North of England. We have got a raw deal in sound broadcasting and we have to pay the same licence as the rest of the country. In addition to this injustice, we have no television station.
I quite agree; we are both in the same position. This sort of programme is or very little community interest to any but the people who appreciate it.
As I have said, we have no television station. Ours is the last of the large, thickly populated areas to be covered, and at present it is very difficult to get any reception at all in television in the north-east. Some people buy sets and get very poor reception accompanied by the perpetual "snowstorms," but we have to pay the same licence as in any other part of the country. This area deserves much better treatment from the B.B.C. In Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire there is a population of two to three million people. This areas possesses one of the largest and most important coalfields, and, in addition, it is one of the key industrial areas of the land, and plays a considerable part in the export drive, on which our future depends.
The two to three million people living there deserve something better than they are getting both in sound broadcasting and in television, and I hope that the Minister who replies to the debate will refer specifically to this point. My plea to the Government is that before they engaged in any of the developments mentioned by the Postmaster-General, such as colour television, television from external sources or other capital expenditure, I hope they will spare some capital expenditure to give the north-east a better deal.
I want only to deal with one aspect of this subject, the question of sponsored television, because, although my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) put forward a very interesting thesis, we have to face quite clearly the issue that if a non-exclusive Licence is granted the best of that non-exclusiveness has to come from sponsored programmes. There may be no escape there, and if we are to accept it we must accept that decision, too.
I speak as one who has an interest in the matter, and I want to put that interest from a different angle from that put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). I am, in fact, an advertising agent, and I should like to refute the suggestion that this desire for sponsorship has emanated from those primarily interested in advertising, because that is not the case. If one studies the promotion of advertising for radio or television in this country, one will realise at once that it will require new resources, new equipment and new staff and it will, in fact, give the advertising agent less remuneration than the use of the normal methods of advertising.
I have been in the Chamber during the greater part of this debate and I have discovered no limiting line for the coverage of the discussion, on either side of the House. Whether there is any line or not I do not know. It might be the 38th Parallel, or something like that.
Perhaps I might refer to an observation made by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton), which must have been in order or he would have been called to order for it. The hon. Gentleman suggested that we would not accept our education or our entertainment from bookmakers or brewers, but he is quite prepared to accept cheaper newspapers as a result of the advertisements put into them by bookmakers or brewers.
There has been a false approach to the subject of the standard of programme that we should be likely to get if sponsorship were allowed. If there is sponsorship, the programmes must be good. All the people who are concerned in advertising know that the standards which are expected by the British people must be upheld under sponsorship.
I accept that, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The point I am endeavouring to make is that the argument that the standard of programme would be reduced by sponsorship is not justified by the fact.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick made some observations about vultures, and they have been subsequently taken up. The fact is that the Government are opening the door to people of initiative and enterprise who can present alternative means of entertainment to those already presented. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to justify, in the terms which he so eloquently used, the conservative and traditional methods of the B.B.C., but I detected another note, far more sinister, behind his introductory remarks, when he referred to the "unique power" residing in the B.B.C.
It should be a matter for serious consideration on the part of the House whether there should reside a unique power in an organisation of this sort, and whether we should not, within reason and with great care, provide alternative means to prevent that unique power from becoming a supreme and absolute power which could be used by an unscrupulous Government to the detriment of the principles of democracy.
I welcome the courage of the Government in preparing to open the door to an experiment. From my commercial experience, I do not share the fears of those who believe that in opening that door there will be a flood of programmes which will lower the general standard of morality in this country.
However it may have started, the debate has continued around one point, the exclusiveness, or non-exclusiveness of this Licence. It would make no sense at all if I were to ignore my plain duty to reply to the points on this question which have been made during the debate.
The question of finance has been raised. There have been three main bases on which the non-exclusiveness of this Licence has been defended. There was the assumption that by challenging the monopoly of the B.B.C. a new form of broadcasting would introduce a welcome element of freedom into British television. That was mentioned by the right hon. and gallant Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) and the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman).
Then there has been underlying the case for a non-exclusive Licence the belief that financial resources would be forthcoming, that there would be more money for television programmes without extra cost either to the viewers or the Treasury. That assumption lay behind a great deal of what the hon. Member for Bath said and is, no doubt, part and parcel of the case for the non-exclusive Licence. Finally, behind all these sentiments, there is the assumption that the alternative system of commercially sponsored television would give the public the programmes the public wants.
All these assumptions are wholly false. Let us take the financial point first. The case is that commercially sponsored television brings more money to television programmes without extra cost either to the viewers or to the Treasury. It is completely false. Quite apart from the question as to whether there are special occasions when advertising in certain lines pays for itself, no one can challenge the fact that, in the long run, advertising costs are recouped from the consumer of the advertised products.
This is of great importance, if the hon. Member will allow me to proceed for a moment. The public will, in fact, pay for at least a substantial part of sponsored programmes. A member of the public will pay as a consumer of the advertised product. Every time he goes into a shop and buys a packet of cigarettes or into a pub and buys a bottle of beer, he will be paying a kind of invisible wireless licence.
I quite agree, and I will do my best to comply with the Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. However, the hon. Member for Bath in his speech raised this question of financial resources for the B.B.C. and my point is that such financial resources as are raised by sponsored television programmes are paid by the public as consumers instead of as licence holders.
Then may I turn to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) who raised the question of the 15 per cent. of licence money withheld. It would surely be an absurdity if, on the one hand, the Treasury were to withhold 15 per cent. of the licence money of the B.B.C. and, on the other hand, to subsidise sponsored television programmes. Yet in so far as an advertising campaign cuts into the profits of the advertiser or into the profits of competitive firms, the Treasury stands to lose a great deal of Income Tax and Profits Tax. It is perfectly clear to anyone who studies this matter that such of the sponsored programmes as are not paid for by the citizen and the consumer are paid for by the citizen as a taxpayer.
I pass then, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, from that with a slight regret that if what I was saying was in order, I should be showing that those who pay in this manner—[Interruption.]I have plenty of other points to make in the debate, and I will leave that for the moment.
The second major point which is made in favour of the sponsored programmes—-and when the truth of what I am saying is understood by the public, as, I admit, it is not understood yet, very soon it will be found that the campaign for sponsored television collapses in the most ignominious fashion—is that by challenging the monopoly of the B.B.C, a welcome element of freedom is introduced. The right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvin-grove said that supporters of monopoly were using the arguments of tyranny throughout the ages. But all the arguments that we were using—those that I was using, anyhow—are contained in the White Paper, which says:
The Government recognise that this effective monopoly has done much to establish the excellent and reputable broadcasting service for which this country is renowned. …
We really ask for the B.B.C—the B.B.C. monopoly—to be given a chance of doing the same splendid work in television to
which the Government themselves pay tribute in relation to sound broadcasting.
Why not? What is this tyranny against which the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove inveighs, and which the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) quoted Milton to destroy? It is the tyranny which the Government themselves praised in the warmest possible words in relation to sound broadcasting. Where is the essential point of difference? It is just the same. Have we really been living under a dreadful dictatorship in the past? This B.B.C. was set up by hon. Members opposite and has been praised by them. Why cannot we give it the same chance in television?
Then there is this new freedom that we are to get. What is the freedom for? Am I able, or is any hon. Member or any voluntary organisation able, to pay for a sponsored television programme? There are hundreds of worthy voluntary organisations with some entitlement, perhaps, to make their views heard in this way. Take the United Nations Association. A programme sponsored by the United Nations Association might perhaps have something to be said for it on the basis of the arguments advanced, but we know that neither the individual nor the group of individuals, nor the worthy voluntary organisation, has a hope of getting a sponsored television programme. They cannot afford it, nor can the small business man or the small advertiser afford it. There are only a handful of big business companies that can afford it.
I quite agree, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and when I have answered the argument of the hon. Member for Bath, I will proceed with another line.
The freedom which the hon. Member for Bath is asking for is of a very specialised kind. It is the freedom, for instance, of the Football Pools Association to give their views on gambling to viewers of all ages. It is the freedom of Johnny Walker whisky——
On a point of order. At the beginning of the debate the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), who replied to my hon. Friend who opened the debate, was repeatedly called to order on points that were not nearly so wide as those now being made all the time. Is it in order for this to continue?
The appeal to freedom and to Milton by the hon. Member for Bath, was sheer claptrap. What he is suggesting is to increase the political power of sections of the community which already have quite enough for the health of the community as a whole. The Government recognise this to a large extent, as my right hon. Friend pointed out. They do not trust these big advertisers at all. One of the first things to be done is to set up a system of censorship to keep these people in order. We have here the actual words from Command Paper 8550, paragraph 9:
It would be necessary to introduce safeguards against possible abuses and a controlling body would be required for this purpose, for regulating the conduct of the new stations, for exercising a general oversight of the programmes …
Here is Milton. Here is the true spirit of liberalism which was appealed to today. To be prohibited under this nonexclusive licensing system are political and religious broadcasting.
We have said something already about the kind of spirit of liberalism which bans such things as this but more interesting is the kind of broadcasting not banned. Take, for instance, sponsored television programmes for children. It is the intention of the Government to introduce commercially sponsored television programmes for children—sponsored "children's hours." I should have thought there would be agreement on both sides of the House on this Anyone who has watched children looking in has seen the fascination which television exerts on a child's mind and emotions. I should have thought there would have been agreement on both sides of the House that such a power as this should be in the hands of persons whose sole aim is to give the children entertainment and education—with the children's welfare as a single aim.
The view of the Government is that the entertainment and education of children is a thing which may be exploited to advertise commercial products. That is the view of the Government; it is the view of hon. Members opposite. The hon. Member opposite is quite happy that his child should sit in front of a television set watching a commercially sponsored programme. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Hon. Members say, "Why not?" Let them cling to their point of view and we on this side will go to the country and ask the parents, ask the teachers, and ask the churches, whether or not they think that children's television programmes should be the plaything of advertisers and commercialism.
I said there were three basic assumptions behind the case for sponsored television. I have dealt with two; first, that money is forthcoming for programmes without extra cost to viewers and without extra cost to the Treasury. That is false. We know now that the citizens of this country will pay an invisible wireless licence whenever they buy a product advertised on T.V. What is more, they will pay the licence whether or not they have a television set. Those who cannot afford a television set——
The hon. Member is going beyond the Licence. There is nothing about a general system of sponsored television in this Licence. The only reference is paragraph 14 prohibiting the B.B.C. from transmitting matter for gain.
I am in the embarrassing position of having to comment on the debate in which I think the entire speeches, except one, were concerned with the single point of whether Licence should be an exclusive one or a non-exclusive one. All those speches were plainly in order, or they would be ruled out of order. Therefore, I hope you will allow me, Mr. Speaker, to reply to the various points made in the debate.
I am now coming to a conclusion of my remarks and my final point is concerned with the third basis of commercially sponsored television, as it has been advanced in this debate. That is an assumption which has been behind every speech today, that commercially sponsored television gives the public what it wants in a way in which the monopoly of the B.B.C. does not. The theory is plain enough on this point. It is that the advertiser wants his advertising to be seen by the largest number of people, the largest number of people are attracted by the programmes enjoyed most therefore, it is in the advertiser's interest to give the public the programme that the public wants. I am trying to be fair.
The first part of this argument is plain and true enough. The advertiser wants the largest possible audience. This has been mentioned several times in the debate today. For proof of this one has only to study the television business magazines in the United States which list television programmes in a table known as "cost per thousand"—that is the magic phrase for television in the United States. It is the cost in dollars per minute of advertising time per thousand viewers. For example, "What's My line"——
On a point of order. I suggest that this is going far beyond the limits of your Ruling, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Gentleman is now dealing with the expenses and methods of television in the United States, in what he says is his third point against sponsoring. That is practically contradicting what you ruled at the beginning of the debate.
It is very difficult, if one speech is made, to prevent another Member from answering it. All I can ask the House to do is, if they have been straying beyond the strict confines of the Licence, to try to return to them now and turn over a new leaf.
My argument is devoted to showing that the B.B.C. should have an exclusive Licence and that a non-exclusive Licence does not merely not give the public what it wants but gives programmes which it does not want and does not give programmes which the public does want. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had sat through the debate he might have seen how much more in order my remarks are than apparently he does.
I will leave the example I was giving and return to my main point. No one disputes that the advertiser wants the largest audience for his programme. Now the theory looks a little sillier when we inquire to what extent the largest audiences are attracted by the programmes that are enjoyed most. At first sight it sounds platitudinous; it sounds obviously true, but in broadcasting it is plainly untrue.
If the hon. Gentleman wishes me to declare an interest as a broadcaster I certainly do so. I wish hon. Members opposite would always declare their interests.
Of course, the fact that a programme is enjoyed increases its audience but there is another factor which increases an audience to a television programme which has nothing to do with enjoyment itself and the keenness of enjoyment. I refer to the factor that it must simultaneously appeal to the 90-year old and the nine-year old, to the clever man and the stupid man, to the Scots and the Welsh and to both sexes, of all ages. That is to say, this programme must have two factors: it must be enjoyed but it must also appeal to no particular age, no particular sex and no particular intellectual level.
That is not just a theory. One can see it working out in the United States, that when one goes out for a large audience at all costs one is depriving viewers of many of the programmes which they enjoy most keenly. Facts are available on this issue. It is an open secret that the B.B.C. research organisations, the Viewer Research Organisation and the corresponding Listener Research Organisation produce, in relation to any programme they cover, two figures. One figure shows the size of the audience and the other figure, called an appreciation index, shows whether the audience thought it was very bad, bad, fair, good or very good.
If hon. Members opposite were correct in their assumption, then there would be a correlation between these figures. The programmes with the larger audience would tend to have the highest appreciation index, but if they look at the facts they will find that that is not the case at all. It stands to reason that a pro- gramme which is adjusted to a particular individual's state, not necessarily highbrow or lowbrow, but a programme which is addressed to a certain interest and a certain intellectual level, will be more keenly appreciated and enjoyed by that person.
This whole idea is alien to commercial radio and commercial television. They want the big audience at all costs, and for that they are prepared to sacrifice the minority programmes which are often the most keenly enjoyed programmes of all. We drive down our television and radio programmes inevitably as soon as we make a large audience our only criterion of success in broadcasting.
But now, of course, in their defence, hon. Members opposite advance this theory: "All right, let us accept that sponsored television has a particular role—the role of what you might call the average programme for the largest audience. Let sponsored radio do that job and let the B.B.C. do the minority programmes which are often more keenly appreciated. Let us have a dual system." We are told not to invoke Gresham's Law. The hon. Member for Bath referred to the publications department of the Stationery Office working side by side with private publishers; he said that they worked hand in hand and asked, "Why not the same with television?"
This plan does not work either in theory or in practice and it is clear why it should not work. In practice, my right hon. Friend has referred to the example of Canada and Australia. Now may I deal with the theory of the matter? I do not know whether this is presumptuous, but let me take a personal example. Even at the risk of seeming immodest, I want to impress this upon the House.
Let us take a personal example of the programme with which I am concerned—a programme called "International Commentary." This is an example of a programme with a less than average audience and with a higher than average appreciation index. For this to be sponsored there would inevitably be pressure to increase the audience, and this could be done quite easily. It is a technique. Anyone can increase an audience. A pretty girl in a studio and a quiz programme in the middle with a prize attached can increase the audience straight away. That could easily be done.
If sponsored television gets a hold it will first either take these minority programmes and dilute them, destroy their character and drive them down to the average programme level, or else it will suppress them altogether in the following manner. It will have at its disposal—we have discussed this and admitted it—enormous financial resources, such as would rightly be regarded as extravagant if handled by a public corporation. With this money it will simply buy away the B.B.C.'s programmes.
Take the popular programme, "What's My Line?" This is a very good illustration of what I mean. "What's My Line?" is one of the most popular British television programmes, and it is also a popular programme in the United States of America.
It started in the United States of America. Here, we do a public service version. Would the hon. and gallant Member like to know the difference between these two programmes? The main difference is that in America "What's My Line?" is begun, ended and interrupted by an advertisement for a deodorant. That is the Stoppette spray deodorant. Next time the hon. Gentleman is looking at "What's My Line?" on the B.B.C., let him lament the fact that when Elizabeth Allan has finished there is no advertisement for Stoppette deodorant. That is the kind of thing he means to do to this most popular programme.
When I say that the two systems cannot exist side by side I mean that if sponsored television were allowed in this country the big business firms and advertisers would simply buy up a programme such as "What's My Line?" They have the financial resources and they would use them to buy away with double or treble the fees the performers, technicians, cameramen and producers. This happens today in Canada and Australia.
Every time the B.B.C. produced a winning programme it would be bought up by big business and put on with advertisements in the middle, in a sponsored programme. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Why not?—because we say that we do not want to undermine the B.B.C. Hon. Members opposite say the same thing. One cannot have the two things running side by side. I think there are hon. Gentlemen opposite who know that and who mean to undermine the B.B.C. If they do not know it they have not studied the matter. That is what will be the effect of this policy.
I have dealt with the three main bases behind this policy of sponsored television. If all these assumptions—which, I think, are false—were true, I should still be against commercially-sponsored television. Surely there are already enough things in our national life which are commercialised. I should have thought that television, in particular—which, for good or ill, will be a dominant force in our social life in the years ahead and which will have an enormous impact—should not be commercialised.
The Assistant Postmaster-General talks of television as though it were just a routine Departmental matter for the Post Office. He has no conception of what it means or of its possibilities. We are not discussing anything like the decision of the Uthwatt Committee on radio. This is not comparable with sound radio. Take television sets which, in spite of the needs of defence—which, I agree, must have priority—are now selling in increasing numbers. Each set is used three or four times more intensively than a radio set and there is, on the average, a greater audience for each set. Television makes an impact on the emotions, the memory and the intellect which is far beyond that which sound radio makes, even with the primitive techniques in use today, without colour and the new techniques of persuasion which are bound to be developed in the years ahead.
For good or ill, television will dominate our social and cultural life. It is an unprecedented power in our national life. The Government showed no understanding whatever about this. I do not believe that half of them have a television set. They do not understand it. This is an important issue. The Government could fall on this issue, if it were not already flat on its face as a result of various other misdeeds. Hon. Members opposite comprise about the worst Government and the worst Parliamentary party this country has known and this broadcasting policy of theirs is a signal victory for the worst elements among them.
I beg the Government to have second thoughts about this matter. It may pay them quite well when the next General Election comes round. Let the B.B.C. have the opportunity to do the same thing for television as it has done for sound radio—of making Britain pre-eminent in television as we have been and are preeminent in sound radio.
However it coincided now and again, or failed to coincide, with the Ruling on order which you have given, Mr. Speaker, I am sure the whole House will have appreciated, in the speech of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) an attack upon the dangers of advertisement by a master of advertising. I can only hope that the appreciation index of which he spoke so learnedly will not come into too close an examination of his speech in cold print.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), who opened the debate from the benches opposite, showed, I thought, every characteristic which the most bitter enemies of the legal profession have attributed to it from time immemorial. He heard the Ruling, he understood the Ruling, and he proceeded, by a method which used actionably to be called "pettifogging," to base his argument on the word "non-exclusive."
There was no criticism; there was a congratulation to the right hon. Gentleman on the method by which he proceeded in his speech. But the point which I think one has to face, and which the right hon. Gentleman attempted to obscure, is this: the basis of his speech was the use of the word "nonexclusive." He knows as well as anyone in the House that every Licence which has been given, every Licence which has been discussed in the House, has been a non-exclusive Licence. I was rather surprised at his attempt to obscure that point, because I know that the right hon. Gentleman would not have come to make his speech without informing himself about the position.
That being so, I propose to deal with points on which he sought for information with his tongue rather less in his cheek than it was on the point with which I have just dealt. The first, if I remember rightly, was on the contract of service of those engaged by the national Broadcasting Councils. He was quite right in his interpretation that the actual employment, as set out in Clause 13 (9) of the Charter, will be by the B.B.C. The selection will be by the national Council, but the contract of service will be with the B.B.C. I think that deals with the fears which he expressed on that point.
He dealt secondly with the question of Clause 16 of the Charter—the trade union point, which, he indicated, was by implication brought in by the Licence. There again, as has been said elsewhere, we earnestly hope—and I think this applies to both sides of the House; indeed, to every Member of the House—that the delay that has taken place will very soon be ended and a satisfactory position achieved.
I am not quite sure what the aesthetic basis of his objection to the word "external" was. I think it was the conservatism and favour of the status quo which filled the whole of his speech that probably made him prefer once again something unchanged in the word "overseas"; but I do want to point out to the right hon. Gentleman—because he mentioned for a moment that there was politics in it; and that was the phrase which I wanted to make clear—that there is no question of any political matter. It was the suggestion of the B.B.C., and, for the reasons which have been given, we thought it should be maintained.
On the question of monitoring—I shall not read the Clause myself—I refer the right hon. Gentleman to Clause 15 (5) of the Licence and ask him to compare it with Clause 18. I think he will find that the financial payment for the monitoring system is fairly dealt with.
There was one further point that the right hon. Gentleman raised, and even if it is not in order on what I have argued I am very anxious that the questions that have been raised should be answered, and the right hon. Gentleman did put the point as to the question of time. Again, I shall do him the credit of supposing that this time it was a question and not a disguised argument, and, if you, Mr. Speaker, and the House will allow me, I should like to make that point clear.
As the right hon. Gentleman said, the Postmaster-General indicated that the meaning of his phrase was building the five new low-powered television stations and making a good start on developing the use of very high frequencies. I do not think anyone can translate that into years or months. I have tried, with the best technical advice that I could get, and my own firm belief is that it cannot be. But that is the state of development which we want, and that must depend on the availability of resources.
The optimist will say that those resources will be available very shortly, the pessimist will take a different view; and I can only give the conditions which we think should obtain, and, at the same time, emphasise, as, is only right, that conditions are never an excuse for procrastination. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will agree with that.
I did look at the speech, but I was not able to find the passage. It is a matter of resources and doing certain things. I have tried very hard to solve this problem, but I do not believe that anyone can at the present time translate it with any accuracy, in the ordinary sense of the term, into years and months. That is the best I can do. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will believe that I am trying to give him the best answer, but if he thinks that it can be translated more accurately, I should be very interested to hear.
The next main point was made by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton), and that concerned the 85 per cent. He, with the frankness that one associates with him and the county he represents, did not wrap that up in controversy. He said that he had always objected to the 85 per cent., and he objected to any amount being taken. There are two lines of argument I would ask him to consider. The first is that under the Licence it is possible for the B.B.C. to make representations on that matter, if they have reasons which they wish to put forward. The second is, as I indicated previously, that with regard to borrowing powers we are taking the same line and the same sum as our predecessors, and giving borrowing powers up to £10 million. That meets the need for capital investment, which is the field in which funds are more likely to be needed.
The point I was endeavouring to make was that the problem is likely to arise, and the rub is likely to be felt, over the question of capital expenditure, and that is met by the borrowing powers. As to what percentage should be taken by the Treasury and the net amount which should be left to the B.B.C., I believe that, for once, an opinion held by two Governments and the majority on both sides of the House does not make for common error but for common Tightness and correctness.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) also went into the field of law, and followed the right hon. Member for Smethwick in the construction and interpretation of documents which, fortunately perhaps, are not even attempted in the field from which they were culled. I assure the House that I do not anticipate the very serious results of, and the meaning which my hon. Friend read into, Clause 14 of the Licence—that it will allow the B.B.C. to do sponsoring. I agree with the interpretation that it is confined to purposes of the kind mentioned in the previous line.
I should like to say how much the whole House recognised the appeal of the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short). He was expressing a difficulty with regard to the North-East Coast which we all appreciate. I think that in answering the right hon. Gentleman on the question of time I have shown that the provision of the programme for the North-East Coast is a matter about which we are seriously concerned, and whose priority we shall rate high. In doing so, may I say that that is not any derogation from my pride in and affection for Northern Ireland, who require similar and correlative assistance.
I do, and I think that the remarks of my hon. Friend indicated that, while colour is a most fascinating and interesting experiment and one which we should like to see developed, it is not a matter of immediacy and cannot be in the present state, whereas I think that the needs of the district for which the hon. Gentleman spoke are matters which require immediate attention as soon as it can be given. I think that everyone agrees with that point. I wanted to make clear to him that we appreciate the point that he made.
These are the points that have been raised with regard to the contents of the Licence, and, so far as I have realised—and I have sat throughout the whole debate—they are all the points. It would be, I think, too paradoxical if, after endeavouring, in the most respectful way, to suggest what were the terms of order and interrupting one or two speeches in that way, I were now to depart from that course and proceed to answer the arguments concerning sponsoring and anti-sponsoring: and you, Mr. Speaker, would be the first, I think, to call attention to such a breach of order, especially from this Box.
That subject we have discussed and decided. Today we are putting forward the conditions under which the B.B.C. will operate. I am glad to think that these conditions are such as to give greater freedom and an assured financial position, and also the requirements to make the technical improvements which will be of such value to every citizen in this country.
Unlike most hon. Members present, I have been here since this debate started, and I have listened to every speech. I do not think that the Government have done justice to the importance of this subject, in the single-date debate on their own White Paper which we had recently or in the effort of the Home Secretary tonight, with the help, possibly, of the Patronage Secretary, to curtail this debate. Not only did he rise, to my mind, far too early, but while the earlier speeches were being made on this side of the House he interrupted far too often in an effort completely to gag the House.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman sought from the start to narrow this debate, and it was very obvious that he was by no means enjoying the trend that the debate was taking. After all, the Treasury Minute and the White Paper itself stated that the new Licence and Agreement takes account of the Government's proposals contained in the White Paper, and therefore, to my mind, it was inevitable, in discussing this Licence and Agreement, that we should refer to the White Paper proposals.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman stated that this is only to be the terms within which the B.B.C. have to operate. I am surprised that, after some of the speeches which we heard last week and some of the speeches which we have heard today, the Government are going to permit the B.B.C. to operate at all. We have heard the B.B.C. denounced as a "monster," and the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) talked as if he wished completely to break up the sound monopoly of the B.B.C. If his speech meant anything, he wanted competition. He instanced the fact that the North-East of Scotland cannot properly hear the B.B.C. The people there want to hear the B.B.C. They do not want to hear sponsored programmes.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman seemed to consider that the Opposition had no desire to spread the control of the B.B.C. from Portland Place in any way, but surely he will recollect that the White Paper issued by the Labour Government contained proposals for the further devolution of the B.B.C. I refer him to Paras. 17 and 20 of the Labour Government's White Paper on Broadcasting.
I want to take up with the Home Secretary Clause 15 of the Licence, which lays down that the B.B.C.:
… shall send efficiently on every day (including Sundays) programmes in the Home Sound Services. …
Reading the Licence in the light of the proposals already made by the Government, I do not think the B.B.C. will be able to give us an efficient service. The right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove should be voting against the Licence because under the Government's proposals there will be less devolution for Scotland than there is at present.
At present the Scottish and Welsh regions have theoretical autonomy. The only limiting factor to the provision of a full Scottish Service at present is finance, and under the Government's proposals 100 per cent. finance control is being maintained at the centre. Further, whereas at present the Regional Councils are appointed by the Scottish and Welsh directors, under the new proposals they will be appointed by a predominantly English Committee. From that point of view we have answered the indignant but spurious protestations of the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove.
We in Scotland are interested in television. We are concerned about public education in Scotland, and, if there is anything of which we are proud, it is the
The debate ought to have been wound up by the Secretary of State for Scotland, who not long ago went to Kirk o'Shotts and, in the company of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, declared open the first television station in Scotland. Two days later the Moderator of the Church of Scotland dedicated television in Scotland from St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh. Little did he think that the man beside him at that time was even then conniving at the debauching of what the Moderator called "The Miracle of T.V." Now it is to be used through sponsoring for the greater glory of beer, betting and Beecham's. Is this what the people of Scotland and Wales want?
The hon. Gentleman is straying outside the Licence. I have ruled that the general question of sponsored television is not in order. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) was in mid-career when I came in and it was very difficult to stop him.
I think I am entitled to reply to some of the things that have been said. I have only one more remark to make. I read with considerable interest a speech made by Lord Woolton in Manchester at the week-end. He should get a new script writer. He talked about travelling through a dark tunnel and seeing a light ahead. It was not a red light. It was the dim light of hope. The only light that I can see in this Government's dark tunnel is the ghastly glow of sponsored television. And that this country rejects.
|Division No. 182.]||AYES||[10.2 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Barber, A. P. L.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Barlow, Sir John|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton)||Baxter, A. B.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Baker, P. A. D.||Beach, Maj. Hicks|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Beamish, Maj. Tufton|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Baldwin, A. E.||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Banks, Col. C.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Mellor, Sir John|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Birch, Nigel||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas|
|Black, C. W.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hay, John||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Heald, Sir Lionel||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Heath, Edward||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Nutting, Anthony|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampsted)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Oakshott, H. D|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Odey, G. W|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Hirst, Geoffrey||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H (Antrim, N.)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hollis, M. C.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Burden, F F. A.||Holt, A. F.||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hope, Lord John||Osborne, C.|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hopkinson, Henry||Partridge, E.|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Peake, Rt. Hon O|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Horobin, I. M.||Perkins, W. R. D|
|Channon, H.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Peto, Brig. C. H. M|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Peyton, J. W. W|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Pickthorn, K. W. M|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Cole, Norman||Hurd, A. R.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'grh W.)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Raikes, H. V.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Rayner, Brig. R|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Redmayne, M.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Remnant, Hon. P|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Jennings, R.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Kaberry, D.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Keeling, Sir Edward||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lambert, Hon. G||Russell, R. S.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Lambton, Viscount||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Donner, P. W.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Leather, E. H. C.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Drewe, C.||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T, (Richmond)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Shepherd, William|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Linstead, H. N.||Simon, J E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Duthie, W. S.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon, A.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon W. E.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Erroll, F. J||Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Fell, A.||Low, A. R. W.||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||McAdden, S. J.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Fort, R.||McCorquodala, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Foster, John||Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||McKibbin, A. J.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Gage, C. H.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Storey, S.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Maclay, Hon. John||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Maclean, Fitzroy||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Gammans, L. D.||MacLeod, Rt. Hon, Iain (Enfield, W)||Summers, G. S.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Glyn, Sir Ralph||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Godber, J. B.||Maitland, Comdr J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Teeling, W.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Gower, H. R.||Markham, Major S. F.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Marples, A. E.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Grimond, J.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Tilney, John|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maudling, R||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hare, Hon. J. H||Medlicott, Brig. F||Turton, R. H.|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Vane, W. M. F.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.||Wills, G.|
|Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Watkinson, H. A.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Vosper, D. F.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Wade, D. W.||Wellwood, W.||York, C.|
|Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Walker-Smith, D. C.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)||Mr. Studholme and Mr. Butcher.|
|Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Adams, Richard||Finch, H. J||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Albu, A. H.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||McLeavy, F.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Follick, M.||MacMillan, M. K (Western Isles)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Foot, M. M.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Forman, J. C.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Mainwaring, W. H|
|Awbery, S. S.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mallalieu, J. P. W (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Gibson, C. W.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Baird, J.||Glanville, James||Marquand, Rt. Hon H. A|
|Barnes, Rt Hon A. J||Gooch, E. G.||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Bartley, P.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F J||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Messer, F.|
|Bence, C. R.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Benson, G.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Monslow, W.|
|Beswick, F.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Moody, A. S.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Morley, R.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hamilton, W. W.||Morrison, Rt. Hon H (Lewisham, S.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hannan, W.||Mort, D. L.|
|Boardman, H.||Hardy, E. A.||Moyle, A.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon A. G.||Hargreaves, A.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Murray, J. D.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hastings, S.||Nally, W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hayman, F. H.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Noel-Baker, Rt Hon. P J|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Henderson, Rt. Hon A. (Rowley Regis)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Herbison, Miss M.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hewitson, Capt. M||Orbach, M.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hobson, C. R.||Oswald, T.|
|Burke, W. A.||Holman, P.||Paget, R. T.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Houghton, Douglas||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Hoy, J. H||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Pannell, Charles|
|Carmichael, J.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Parker, J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paton, J.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pearson, A.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Peart, T. F.|
|Clunie, J.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Cocks, F. S.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Poole, C. C.|
|Coldrick, W.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Collick, P. H.||Janner, B||Price, Phillips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rankin, John|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S)||Reeves, J.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Daines, P.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Rhodes, H.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Richards, R.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Keenan, W.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N)|
|Deer, G||Kenyon, C.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Ross, William|
|Dodds, N. N.||King, Dr. H. M.||Royle, C.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Kinley, J.||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)|
|Driberg, T. E. N||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W Bromwich)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon E.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Short, E. W.|
|Edelman, M.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Lewis, Arthur||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Lindgren, G. S.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Logan, D. G.||Slater, J.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||MacColl, J. E.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Ewart, R.||McGhee, H. G.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S)|
|Fernynough, E.||McGovern, J.||Snow, J. W.|
|Field, W. J.||McInnes, J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Soskice, Rt. Hon Sir Frank||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Sparks, J. A.||Thurtle, Ernest||Wilkins, W A.|
|Steele, T.||Timmons, J.||Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N)|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E)||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Tomney, F.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Turner-Samuels, M.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Aberlillery)|
|Strauss, Rt. Hon George (Vauxhall)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Stross, Dr. Barnett||Viant, S. P.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E||Wallace, H. W.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Swingler, S. T.||Watkins, T. E.||Williams, W T. (Hammersmith, S)|
|Sylvester, G. O.||Weitzman, D.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Wells, William (Walsall)||Woodburn, Rt Hon A|
|Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||West, D. G.||Wyatt, W L|
|Thomas, David (Aberdare)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John||Yates, V F.|
|Thomas, George (Cardiff)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Thomas, Iowerth (Rhondda, W)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Wigg, George||Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Holmes.|