8. Sir J. D. REES
asked (1) the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that an American company is now endeavouring to obtain control of the cinema trade in this country by building theatres for the exhibition of American films; and whether the Government proposes to take any steps to prevent the passing of these means of advertisement to and education of the people into other than British hands; (2), the Prime Minister whether, in view of the influence of cinema exhibitions with all classes, and particularly with the industrial class, of 1372 the community, and of the fact that upwards of 20,000,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom visit cinema theatres every week, the Government has under consideration the advisability of assisting the British cinema industry to retain control in the United Kingdom and of securing the continued exhibition of films designed to promote British views and British interests?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
I am aware that a prospectus has recently been issued by a new company with an authorised capital of £1,000,000 formed to finance the erection and operation of picture playhouses, and I understand that the chairman of the company is the hon. and gallant Member for Montgomery. The matter does not appear to be one in which His Majesty's Government is called upon to take any further action, but I would point out that imported cinema films are subject to a Customs duty.
An HON. MEMBER
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of prohibiting the building of cinema theatres in this country by other than British subjects or British-owned companies for a period of five years?
Sir J. D. REES
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that unless some action is taken the unparalleled opportunities of the cinema will be, or may be, devoted to other than British objects and British presentations of the subjects they represent?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
I can assure the hon. Member that the Government is not blind to such possibilities.
Mr. J. JONES
Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to introduce legislation to prevent American heiresses from marrying British aristocrats