Oral Answers to Questions — B.B.C. (Finances)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 1966.

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Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden 12:00 am, 12th May 1966

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint an interdepartmental committee to investigate the future of the British Broadcasting Corporation's finances.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

No, Sir. The Government are already reviewing the British Broadcasting Corporation's finances and there is no need to establish a further committee.

Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden

Does the Prime Minister recall that on the eve of the General Election the Postmaster-General gave what was meant to sound like an assurance that the cost of the B.B.C. licence would not rise for two years? Does not the imposition of the Selective Employment Tax now make this assurance absolutely unbelievable?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

That was the speech of my right hon. Friend on 3rd March in the House. I do not know what it was meant to sound like; I know what it said. It said that all the calculations that were then made suggested that this could be financed within the present licence for two years. The Selective Employment Tax is bound to have some effect, but there is no reason to qualify the statement of my right hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

Does the Prime Minister intend to tackle the matter of licence evasion?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

My right hon. Friend made it clear on that occasion that one of the ways in which B.B.C. finances could be strengthened would be to tighten up the provisions against evasion, which would help to increase revenue under the present licence and safeguard B.B.C. revenues for a long time ahead.