Local Broadcasting Councils

Oral Answers to Questions — Wireless and Television – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1967.

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Photo of Dr Michael Winstanley Dr Michael Winstanley , Cheadle 12:00 am, 13th July 1967

asked the Postmaster-General by what method the members of the local broadcasting councils will be appointed; what steps will be taken to ensure a balance of political opinion within the councils and to safeguard the interests of minority groups; and to whom the councils will be responsible.

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

I shall, after consultation with the B.E.C., appoint as members of the councils people selected from those now being recommended to me by a wide range of local organisations and by individuals in the localities to be served by the stations. Members will be appointed for the individual contributions they can make to their council's task of interpreting and representing to the station manager the various needs, aspirations and interests of all sections of the community. They will be responsible to local opinion as a whole for this purpose.

Photo of Dr Michael Winstanley Dr Michael Winstanley , Cheadle

I am grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's reply. Is he aware that there is considerable anxiety in some of these districts among minority groups, such as the Labour and Conservative Parties, about whether their interests will be effectively protected?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

I have set my face firmly against representing the Labour Party, the Conservative Party or any other specific group. All that I want is bright, intelligent people who can produce good radio.

Photo of Mr William Molloy Mr William Molloy , Ealing North

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there may be some danger of these councils being dominated by local authorities which are putting up the money?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

It is being made perfectly clear to local councils that if they are going to make contributions that does not entitle them to any given number of representatives; indeed, to any representation at all.

Photo of Mr Paul Bryan Mr Paul Bryan , Howden

Will organisations, whatever they may be, which subscribe money to these stations be debarred from representation on these councils? Will they be able to influence programmes?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

They will not be debarred, but the fact that they subscribe money will not necessarily entitle them to representation.