Cross-media Ownership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 23rd May 1995.

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Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Secretary of State for National Heritage 3:31 pm, 23rd May 1995

In what I had to say on the Channel 4 funding formula, I have undertaken to respond to the right hon. Gentleman's Select Committee on the question of the film industry in full within the relevant period, and I shall do that. I shall certainly set out clearly in that document a reconsidered view on the Channel 4 funding formula.

The comments that I made in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) reflect the basis on which the Government reached their decision at the end of last year, and that will be reconsidered in the course of the response to the Select Committee. However, I am not certain that there will be widespread expectation of a fundamental review so soon after the decision was originally announced.

I welcome the fact that the right hon. Gentleman regards the short-term changes in both primary and secondary legislation that I propose as relatively uncontroversial. I am grateful for his support on that.

In his concern about the long term, the right hon. Gentleman returns to a theme that has been a familiar subject of discussion between us: the position of British Telecom. My position, and that of the Government, on that has been clear for some time. We believe that there is a strong public interest in the establishment of competing networks alongside BT, and that is the reason why we are constricting the growth of BT into that sector against the published deadline.