18 JANUARY 1975, Page 7

Paper economies

Lord Listowel has been telling members of the House of Lords to economise with official embossed writing paper, saying that the quality may have to be reduced. I should have thought, .Tough it is hardly the burning issue of the day, that writing paper for members of both Houses should be reduced to the dull buff used for more Itri.1111P°rtant activity in the national interest by

e Inland Revenue.

It is curious that a man with a perfectly useful private or office address will write often °II Club paper, somehow putting you in your Riace and casually drawing your attention to 'Ife sort of class of fellow he is by showing :-tirnself to be a member of, say, Pratts or the ‘',xford and Cambridge. Similarly in eTliarnent. Lobby correspondents seem by ..„,llu_ance to ctepa have only House of Commons per handy, and even former MPs sontinue to use it. Piers Dixon, the defeated ivlseentber for Truro, shows a particularly keen hse of economy, I notice, by still using House Paper with a line struck through the address. 813C costs he c conduct of the British Broadcasting ov°I-Poration in over-staffing and grossly pener„PaYing themselves needs inquiry before. a w"..`Y, piece is added to the licence fee. A senior at-rlin_oer of Parliament, whose daughter works sii,„,`" BBC Television Centre, told me how —Prised she had been to find her salary rise,

year by year, together with London 'weighting' and other allowances, for a job described as a Researcher but which is little more than secretarial, to £4,500. No doubt the BBC would say that they have to pay these generous salaries to compete with the ITV companies, who are certainly equally lavish, to judge from their accounts. The average wage at London Weekend Television, taking account of the humblest canteen workers up to the Chief Executive, is over £4,000: which shows that union boss Alan Sapper has been doing his work well.

Incidentally, can anyone tell me — and get me to believe — what on earth all those busyseeming workers, seen scribbling and banging away at typewriters in the background behind the talking link-men of the Saturday-afternoon sports programmes, are actually doing? Clearly they have nothing to do with the sporting events being televised, and the various results announced are sprely coming in from the news agencies. Can it be that they are painstakingly recording fouls and goals, penalties and corner-kicks and the like from every football match in the country? And, if so, does this mean that the BBC and the commercial companies are also paying hundreds of correspondents all over the place to 'phone in such pitiful minutiae?