Oral Answers to Questions — B.B.C. Foreign Language Services

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1954.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East 12:00 am, 3rd May 1954

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what changes in the foreign language services of the British Broadcasting Corporation are to take place as a result of the recommendations of the Drogheda Committee.

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

As my hon. Friend informed the House on 1st March, Her Majesty's Government are giving further consideration to the recommendations of the Drogheda Committee; there will be no change in the present pattern of external broadcasting until this examination of the long-term issues is completed.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

In making this examination, which seems to have taken an unconscionably long time considering that the Report was in the hands of the Government last July, will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that one of the recommendations is to reduce the services to Western Europe, which cost only £135,000, and that to do that would be very foolish in present circumstances, especially in view of the increase in the broadcasts of the Soviet Union to Scandinavia and the rest of Western Europe?

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

I am sure that this point will be borne in mind before a final decision is taken.

Photo of Mr Patrick Gordon Walker Mr Patrick Gordon Walker , Smethwick

The hon. Gentleman says that the present pattern will be preserved pending this decision of the Government. Does that mean output, not merely financial amount? The costs of these services go up sometimes, and if we maintain a financial ceiling that may reduce the output.

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

I am sure that was taken into account by the B.B.C.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

When can we expect the decision of the Government to be reached? The House is getting a little impatient at the delay.